CALGARY — So far in training camp, Fred Bennett has made a major impression on and off the field.
For instance, his performance in the rookie talent show — a solo singing effort — wowed the vets and drew a standing ovation.
Then, of somewhat greater importance when it comes to making the final roster cut, were the two interceptions the defensive back hauled in during Friday’s pre-season opener against the Edmonton Eskimos.
» By the Numbers: Fred Bennett vs. Eskimos – 2 INT, 1 TKL,
“My main thing coming up here was to gain the trust and respect of my teammates and my coaches,” said the University of South Carolina product. “I focused on that by my play on the field, not so much anything off the field. I felt like what I did on the field would help me gain their trust and respect.”
And the singing?
“That was just good entertainment for my teammates,” he said with a chuckle. “I love entertaining my teammates. But it all happens on that field.”
Bennett may be a CFL rookie but he’s hardly a newbie in the world of professional football. Prior to signing with the Stamps, he had five years of experience in the National Football League and played a total of 49 games for the Houston Texans, San Diego Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals.
“I never feel like a rookie,” he said. “I feel that I have enough experience to come out here and compete and do things the right way. I thought (the transition) was real smooth. The field size is a lot different — you’ve got to get used to that. There’s a lot more running and a lot more time for the quarterbacks.
“It’s all football. Once you strap these pads on and strap the helmet on and go out on that field in between those lines, it’s football. No matter how big or small the field is or what the rules are, it’s still football. If you can play football, you can play anywhere. My teammates and my coaches have made the transition so smooth for me, so I thank them.”
The results of his first CFL game-action test would support the suggestion Bennett has been able to get comfortable quickly.
“Fred did an excellent job (Friday) night,” said Stamps general manager and head coach John Hufnagel. “He showed that he had great ball skills and great timing.”
“I take a lot of positive things out of the game,” said Bennett, who had a third interception negated by a Calgary penalty.
“Glad to have the win first and foremost. I was pleased with my performance, but I feel I can do a lot of things better after watching the film. I can always get better.”