Superstitious minds

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:18 PM ET

Seven weeks ago, a tradition started for the Calgary Stampeders defensive linemen.

On the second day of practice week, while the rest of the team dons shoulder pads, the linemen get into full gear, complete with padded pants.

Since the Labour Day rematch in Edmonton, the team has only lost one game.

So wearing full gear has become quite the superstition for Sheldon Napastuk, Rahim Abdullah, Demetrious Maxie, Terrence Patrick, Randy Chevrier and Jerame Southern.

"You can't change it up now," Napastuk said. "I don't want to go out there in my pads. It's cold.

"If you come out there and see us, Chevy has his long socks, Rahim and Terrence are wearing sweat pants underneath their pads. It looks ridiculous but we do it for a reason."

The way it started was quite innocent.

With 10 eager offensive linemen working hard across from them, the defensive linemen were taking a pounding on their legs.

Half of the o-lineman for the Stamps are in their first few seasons with the team and always want to make an impression for offensive co-ordinator Steve Burrato.

So battles along the line in full team drills have gone up in intensity.

"We said, 'If they want to go game day, we'll go game day,' " Napastuk said. "So we put our pants and pads on with the full jersey getup. We took it to them.

"The next game we won. The next week rolls around on pad day, we had to wear it. Did we want to wear the pads? No. But it worked for us. Then we won again and again. We treat that practice like a game now."


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