Former Esks bring winning attitude to Calgary

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:39 AM ET

Rahim Abdullah and Randy Chevrier brought more than just football ability when they arrived in Calgary from Edmonton.

Along with Calgary Stampeders head coach Tom Higgins, the pair of defensive linemen carried with them a win-at-all-costs attitude synonymous with Eskimos football.

"We can develop that here," said Abdullah.

"Winning isn't a sometimes thing, it's an all-times thing for us.

"Every time we step on the field, that's what we should do. We can win every game.

"Tom brought that here. We don't just want to be above .500. We don't just want to make the playoffs. We want to win the Grey Cup.

"That's the attitude we had up there and that came down here with him."

Abdullah and Chevrier played key roles in the Eskimos' 34-22 victory over the Montreal Alouettes at the 2003 Grey Cup game in Regina.

After that championship campaign, Chevrier left for a season in the NFL, while Abdullah played out his option with the Eskimos in 2004.

When Higgins was hired in Calgary, he immediately brought in the two players as free agents.

It didn't take long for Abdullah and Chevrier to feel at home in the Stamps locker-room.

Abdullah is a motormouth at practice, sending a never-ending stream of good-natured trash-talk to the offence.

Chevrier is a hard-working, long-snapping specialist and a proponent of playing video games after workouts to relax.

They are a likable duo sitting next to each other in the locker-room and are key components to the Stampeders chemistry this season.

"You look at all those little things that make up the team," Chevrier said.

"We joke about our (Xbox) Halo club but we had that in Edmonton and we have it here.

"There are other things guys do as well.

"It's not like we just come to work and go home. We go to work, have fun and then finds ways to have fun and interact after practice. We really learn about each other off the field. It's something this team has that I've never experienced before."

When it comes to a team-first attitude, Chevrier experienced it with the Eskimos and sees it happening in Calgary. Winning seven of the last eight games is proof enough the Stamps are supporting one another.

"In 2003, we had a pretty close team. It was a tight-knit locker-room. Rahim and I both feel this team is tighter than that club," Chevrier said.

"We have a lot of good players who keep their egos in check and really mesh well. It's unbelievable because I didn't think I would see it again. I haven't seen a team like this one.

"If you look at the receivers, there's the potential there for a bunch of egos and selfishness. But every guy there is happy for the other guy when they have success. It's the same with the linebackers and defensive line."

Abdullah doesn't care his former team stands between him and a Grey Cup.

He and Chevrier has long left their Green and Gold allegiances in Edmonton.

"Once I put on the 53 with the horse on it, I left the Green and Gold behind," Abdullah said. "I had some great times there and made some great friends but Edmonton is just another team now.

"It could be Montreal or Winnipeg. I won't play any harder because it's them."


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