Kai-high about facing Stamps

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

Kai Ellis wanted desperately to get back on the Renegades roster last week.

He has no interest at all in missing this Saturday's game -- and a chance to prove the Calgary Stampeders made a mistake in trading him.

"I wanted to play against B.C., but all my career I've been rushing back from injuries, so this time I decided to sit out," said the Renegades' 24-year-old defensive end. "It was a hard thing to do."

Allowing his ankle more time to heal also allowed Anthony Collier another start, however, and five sacks later the Renegades know for certain they've got a second young player capable of filling the rush-end responsibilities under defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall's system.

Combined with Ellis' two sacks in Week 1, the Renegades have seven from the position in three games.

Last year, with Gary Etcheverry as the co-ordinator, Roger Dunbrack led the team with five sacks.

Ellis, who was obtained in an Eric Tillman-orchestrated multi-player deal with the Stamps on Jan. 13, 2004, is regarded as having all the tools and size to be a dominant player in the CFL. Injuries limited the former University of Washington Huskie to just 10 games with Ottawa last year and, in the Etcheverry scheme, he registered just one sack and 30 tackles.

Like Collier, he admits feeling more comfortable doing things the Marshall way.

He's also happy that his friend was able to showcase his talent in a CFL linemen of the week performance against the Lions.

"A.C. proved he is nobody to sleep on," said Ellis, a 6-foot-4, 250-pounder. "He opened up some eyes, and showed we have a lot of talent on this defence.

"I had two sacks the first week, he had five last game ... we just take each game as it goes."

While coach Joe Paopao is now stepping back from making a decision between Ellis and Collier -- he said he has until today to do so -- it's believed Ellis will reactivated against the Stamps.

"I'd play them the same way as playing anybody else," he said. "But I know a lot of them well. They have a lot of the same people as when I was there."

SLOW OUT OF GATE

And a couple of key newcomers.

Despite the addition of marquee quarterback Henry Burris and all-star wide receiver Jeremaine Copeland, the Stamps (1-1) are slow out of the gate with just one offensive touchdown.

Burris, who was wooed away from Saskatchewan, has a lowly 56.5 pass completion percentage through two games.

"We've got to start getting into the end zone so we can start sharing our dances with people," he told reporters this week in Calgary. "Jeremaine has been choreographing all these dad-gum dances, so we've got to start dancing."

It'll be up to Ellis and the rest of the Renegades defence to keep them from showing off their jigs a little longer.

EXTRA POINTS: Renegades QB Kerry Joseph distributed T-shirts and tickets yesterday at the Boys and Girls Club as part of his "Kerry's Kids" program. Another initiative involving Joseph and a local charitable group will be announced next week.


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