Family ties bind kicker

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

CALGARY -- It came down to the perfect situation for Sandro DeAngelis.

Not only could the free-agent kicker join a team with a promising future, he could also be closer to his parents, brothers and their families in Niagara Falls, Ont.

And the reason that the now former Calgary Stampeders kicker signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Monday is he didn't know if he would ever get the chance again.

"I hope the fans understand I loved it in Calgary," said DeAngelis, who spent five outstanding seasons with the Stamps. "They embraced me there. It was home.

"At the same time, home is where your family is and I feel like this is the right move now.

"I wouldn't be able to look myself in the mirror if I didn't take this chance."

DeAngelis is the youngest of three boys in his family and he's the baby. His brothers are 15 and 16 years older than Sandro, while his father is 80 and his mother is 70.

With DeAngelis and wife Cassi having a 10-month-old son Max, being closer to his extended family was important.

"I have nine and six year old nephews I barely know," the 28-year-old said.

"People say fatherhood changes your perspective and that's true for me. As a son, it hits you pretty hard that they can't see their grandson.

"Anybody who know Italian families, we're a certain way. We're an emotional, passionate people. We wear our hearts on our sleeves and we're no different with our family. It was tough on my mom and dad to have their youngest son gone for the past 10 years. This is something I had to do."

DeAngelis is the CFL's most accurate kicker of all-time but he was an undrafted free agent when the Stamps took a chance on him in 2005.

The Nebraska product was only available after a failed tryout with the Tiger-Cats.

He won the special teams player of the year award in 2006 and then picked up most outstanding Canadian in the 2008 Grey Cup victory over the Montreal Alouettes in building an impressive resume.

Now he joins a Tiger-Cats team that made the playoffs for the first time since 2004 and appears in the same situation as Calgary was in 2005.

To the Stampeders' credit, DeAngelis said they offered more money than the Ticats but the decision wasn't about salary.

"If Hamilton was a terrible team, I wouldn't be making this move," DeAngelis said. "Being close to family is important, but being a pro ball player, the right situation is a good team. It just so happens the perfect storm. The football situation is great and I can be closer to family."

Before DeAngelis emerged in Calgary, the Stamps had a year and a half volatility with the kicking position after Mark McLoughlin retired.

Now the Stamps are looking for their next kicker, but turnover is inevitable in pro football.

"When I first came to Calgary five short years ago, the three people who were most influential in me being there were Tom Higgins, Jim Barker and Craig Dickenson," DeAngelis said.

"Those guys are no longer there. It goes to show this business is volatile. People come and go in this business, so you have to make the best decision you can for you and your family."


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