EDMONTON - Fred Stamps just can’t do a can.
Oh, sure, he’s got one. an Edmonton Eskimos-issued Reebok brand stuffed way in the back of his locker.
“I don’t really wear it, but you can see it right there,” the slotback said as he fished it out. “It’s uncomfortable.”
As was, one can only imagine, the kick that put Stamps on the sidelines since the beginning of August.
But it’s debatable whether or not the added protection would have saved him from having to undergo surgery to his lower abdomen.
“I didn’t worry about it, I just put it behind me,” Stamps said following Thursday’s walk-through at Commonwealth Stadium. “If you worry about it, that’s when things happen, so you just put it behind you.”
Which happens to be the same place Stamps likes to put opponents tasked with covering him.
And he has much more success outrunning the coverage when he’s not shackled by a jock strap.
“I never wore it in my life,” Stamps said. “It’s weird. When you’re out there in football pants with a big bulge, it’s just weird.
“You don’t want to do nothing like that.”
And doing nothing is something Stamps became all too familiar with as he recuperated from surgery while his team went on to lose two of three without him.
Up until then, Stamps was leading the league with 619 receiving yards, which is good enough for seventh overall going into this week and he still tops his team — one that saw all four starting import receivers injured at the same time.
“It just gives you your best weapon back,” said Ricky Ray. “We all know his ability to make big plays for this offene.
“The great thing is we’re getting healthy at that position.”
The Eskimos had both Marcus Henry and Adarius Bowman returning from injury to bolster the receiving corps in last week’s win.
But Stamps’s return doesn’t phase the other Stamps.
“He’s one of their impact players, so I know they’re happy to have him back,” said Stampeders defensive halfback Brandon Smith. “But they beat us last week without him, so there’s not too much to say about it.”
But Stamps offered some words of encouragement from what he felt while watching his team win big without him on Monday.
“One man can’t take a team nowhere,” he said. “That’s why it’s a team effort in all phases of the ball.
“They can win with me, they can win without me.”