Copeland left Sam some big shoes to fill

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:24 PM ET

Jeremaine Copeland was just stating a fact, as Argonauts head coach Jim Barker likes to say in those radio commercials.

On Wednesday night when the Argos play host to the Calgary Stampeders in their 2010 home opener at the Rogers Centre, Copeland will meet the man he was traded for, Stamps slotback P.K. Sam.

Copeland shrugged, claiming there will be no personal competition between himself and Sam.

“I couldn’t care less what goes on with P.K.,” Copeland said on Tuesday. “I’m just going to do what I was brought here to do, and that is try to make plays, lead us in the right direction and keep guys motivated.

“I met him in Calgary. He is a good guy, but my thought process is not on him, it’s on the whole (Argos) team.”

Sam spent parts of the past two seasons with Toronto, catching 63 passes for 884 yards and five touchdowns.

He usually was solid for the Argos, but when Barker became the boss in Toronto after five years with the Stampeders, he wanted to bring in some players with whom he had a previous relationship.

One answer was Copeland, who led the Canadian Football League in receiving touchdowns last year with 12. Sam missed the season opener against the Argos because of an injury, but he led all Stamps receivers with seven catches against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last Saturday.

Trying to forget that the Stamps dealt the guy who has been so productive in the CFL for him hasn’t come easily for Sam.

“I have no choice but to try to act like I don’t know that — so there is no pressure on me,” Sam said. “The whole trade process was a compliment to me. The whole staff thought I was able to bring something. Now, I just have to go out there and do it.”

Sam could be a headache for Toronto’s secondary that has had trouble tackling in the first two weeks.

At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Sam is big and physical and is capable of gaining yards after the catch.

“He’s quarterback friendly,” Argos free safety Willie Pile said. “That’s what we like to call receivers who know how to get open. He knows how to give the quarterback a good target. But at the same time, he has not seen us. We have some guys who can match up pretty good.”

Copeland, meanwhile, is keeping his fingers crossed that Wednesday night will mark his breakout game for the Argos.

He has had 40 yards receiving in each of the first two games, which might be acceptable for a nervous rookie. But Copeland, from his slotback position, has to be the straw that stirs quarterback Cleo Lemon’s drink as the Argos try to move down the field.

Barring a playoff meeting, Copeland won’t have another chance this season to stick it to the Stamps.

“The chip is always going to be (on his shoulder),” Copeland said. “No matter (where we play), it is always going to be there. It’s not like I hate anybody out there, or I hate anybody in the organization. The chip is that I just want to win.”


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