Business is business for Stampeders

Stampeders' Stevie Baggs at training camp at McMahon Stadium in Calgary on June 2, 2013. Baggs was...

Stampeders' Stevie Baggs at training camp at McMahon Stadium in Calgary on June 2, 2013. Baggs was later cut from the Stamps. (Mike Drew/QMI Agency)

SCOTT MITCHELL, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:12 PM ET

CALGARY - Shawn Lemon has a job.

Stevie Baggs doesnt.

Thats 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 teams plans.

I have no idea, Stamps defensive tackle Corey Mace said when asked why Lemon was unemployed a month ago. Were not the minds that are upstairs in the office. Its weird how some things turn out, but he ended up here, so its a positive for us.

Lemon cant explain it, either.

I cant answer that question, Lemon said. I just had to be ready when my numbers called. We just learn that as athletes, and being around this league, that its a small league and you never know whats going to happen.

No, I didnt get a reason (for being released), but with them signing Odell (Willis), you can kind of see something was going to happen just didnt 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 Lemons 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 wasnt fun for either party I just wish him the best, Hufnagel said Sunday. We had that discussion ... its not what he didnt do but what the other guys did, and its a numbers game. It was a very, very close competition, and thats 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.

Its kind of a dull moment because me and Stevie are pretty good friends, Ive been friends with him since 2010, and hes an outstanding guy, Lemon said. Hes been good to me, and Ive 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 hes 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 wouldnt be surprised at all if hes 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 hes a great player, Lewis said of Baggs. Hes 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. Were 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.


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