Fred Stamps received his second CFL all-star award Wednesday, but the bigger reward will be playing in his first West Division final on Sunday.
The Edmonton Eskimos slotback’s season was already over the first time he was named a league all-star back in 2009.
“It feels much better this year because we’re still playing,” said Stamps, who led the CFL with 1,402 yards and eight touchdowns on 85 receptions in 2009, but were ousted in the first round of playoffs by the Calgary Stampeders. “It’s big, it means a lot. I appreciate everything, the people that voted me for the all-star and everything like that, but it would be even better if we finished it off with a big win on Sunday and head to the Cup.
“It means a lot, we get to wake up and prepare for this year while other teams are at home preparing to play next year.”
The New Orleans, La., native had a team-leading 82 receptions and eight touchdowns on his way to sharing the top spot in team receiving yards with Adarius Bowman at 1,153 — his third consecutive 1,000-yard season.
In fact, Stamps said if the 225-yard, two-touchdown performance his teammate put together to close out the season had happened a little earlier, Bowman could have been right there with him on the all-star ballot.
“That would have been nice,” said Stamps. “The last few games, people look at my numbers being down, but if you watch the tape I have an extra defender around me somewhere. If they’re going to do that, that’s why we have Jason (Barnes) and Adarius.
“It’s not just me, it’s not an individual, it’s a team effort. Even with the offensive line, if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t even have time to catch the football.”
The only other Eskimos player to be singled out as a CFL all-star was starting running back Jerome Messam, who is out for the rest of the playoffs with an injured knee.
“We have to play a bigger role because Messam, he opened things up a lot for the receivers and for Ricky (Ray),” Stamps said. “We have running backs that can step in but, you know, Messam has some big shoes to fill.
“It’s unfortunate that it happened to him, but we have to go win the Cup. I’m pretty sure he’ll be even more happy, like he even played.”
Dec. 10, 1981, New Orleans. La.
Yrs Esks/CFL 5/5
Games played: 2011-15, CFL-75, Playoff-4, Grey Cup-0
Career highlight: Led the CFL in 2009 with 1,402 receiving yards on 85 receptions.
West Division all-star – 3 (2009-11)
CFL all-star – 2 (2009, ‘11)
CFLPA all-star – 2 (2009-10)