CALGARY - Shawn Lemon has a job.
Stevie Baggs doesn’t.
That’s just business.
Sometimes, trying to figure it all out is an exercise in futility.
Released by the Edmonton Eskimos in May as CFL training camps approached, the Calgary Stampeders inked the 24-year-old Lemon on the first day of camp.
Considering the importance of getting to the quarterback, the fact the 6-foot-1, 249-pounder was available — coming off six sacks in 12 games with the Esks last season — is a tad mind-=boggling.
After notching four more sacks in two outstanding pre-season outings over the past two weeks, Lemon effectively played his way into the team’s plans.
“I have no idea,” Stamps defensive tackle Corey Mace said when asked why Lemon was unemployed a month ago. “We’re not the minds that are upstairs in the office. It’s weird how some things turn out, but he ended up here, so it’s a positive for us.”
Lemon can’t explain it, either.
“I can’t answer that question,” Lemon said. “I just had to be ready when my number’s called. We just learn that as athletes, and being around this league, that it’s a small league and you never know what’s going to happen.
“No, I didn’t get a reason (for being released), but with them signing Odell (Willis), you can kind of see something was going to happen — just didn’t know when,” Lemon continued. “It would have been nice for it to have happened a little earlier, but it is what it is and everything worked out fine.”
But Lemon’s pass-rush ability off the edge made Baggs, an eight-year veteran, expendable.
Stamps GM/head coach John Hufnagel says it was a tough decision.
“That was the first one I did and it wasn’t fun for either party — I just wish him the best,” Hufnagel said Sunday. “We had that discussion ... it’s not what he didn’t do but what the other guys did, and it’s a numbers game. It was a very, very close competition, and that’s just the way it falls.”
Lemon considered Baggs — who was trying to work his way back after missing the majority of 2012 with a quad injury — a mentor.
“It’s kind of a dull moment because me and Stevie are pretty good friends, I’ve been friends with him since 2010, and he’s an outstanding guy,” Lemon said. “He’s been good to me, and I’ve learned a lot of things from him. He took me under his wing and showed me a lot of different things about the game.”
Everyone, including Hufnagel, is expecting to see Baggs resurface.
“Oh, absolutely,” Mace said. “He proved that he’s still got it, coming off the injury. I was here all off-season and he was here, too, working hard. I know he definitely can (still play), and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he’s playing somewhere in the next couple of weeks.”
Ten years in the league has educated Nik Lewis on the business side of things, so nothing shocks the slotback, at this point.
“I think he’s a great player,” Lewis said of Baggs. “He’s still a very valuable player in this league. When you look at the way it goes and everything else with injuries and different things, they made the decision to go in a different direction. I wish him the best. We’re friends on the field and off the field. You never know. We had, what 80 people play last year? You might see a lot of people that were in camp come back.”