Astrology by definition, is the study of the motions and relative positions of the planets, sun and moon. It is interpreted through the human activity and characteristics, all neatly packaged into 12 signs.
Fred Stamps isn’t one to read too much into that stuff. If he did, he’d learn that under Sagittarius the Centaur, he’s defined by an unwavering positive outlook, natural athletic ability, a curious mind and ceaseless good luck. Or maybe that’s just who Fred Stamps is, no matter what the stars say.
His desire to be on the field has turned the road blocks - appendicitis in 2007, a shoulder injury in 2010, a devastating kick to the groin in 2011 - into a successful career that most young players only dream about.
|Fred Stamps Highlights|
» Stamps Lays Out For TD vs. Ticats
» Stamps Makes Great Grab of Jump Ball
» Stamps' 30-Yard Touchdown Catch
»Stamps' 2012 Buzzer-Beater
» 95-Yard TD Grab vs. Alouettes
» Joseph, Stamps Connect in 2012
» Stamps' Beautiful One-Hander
“I don’t get typical football injuries. It’s just like, wow. It’s always the weirdest things. It can’t just be a hamstring injury or a jammed finger,” the slotback said, as if his list of ailments is no more than a minor annoyance. “I just pray that hopefully everything will go well and I try to come back with a speedy recovery.”
“Last year [in 2012], I was just happy to play a full season.”
He doesn’t mention that in that full season, he finished second in the league with 70 receptions for 1,310 yards, his fourth-consecutive season to surpass the 1,000-yard mark. He boasted a career-high nine touchdowns that rightfully earned him both Western Division and CFL All-Star nods.
The New Orleans native arrived in Edmonton in June of 2007 with no insight into the CFL. He’d never been to Canada and expected to see snow on the ground when his plane landed.
Even though he’d never been struck by injury in his football career until he crossed the border into new territory as a professional, he’d never say it was bad luck.
“Edmonton has been good to me,” he said of his second home. “When it’s not cold, it’s wonderful. It’s the February weather that gets me.”
The 31-year-old has become a perennial All-Star on a team that has only posted a winning record in two of the seasons he’s played in. When he’s asked what it’s like to surpass 100 games early in the 2013 season, he doesn’t even realize he’s done it.
“Every time you accomplish something like that, especially in the CFL, that’s a big milestone,” he said. “There’s so much history behind this game and so many great players came before you.”
When Stamps headed into 2012, he was without the one constant he’d always known in the league other than injury. The Eskimos opened camp without quarterback Ricky Ray, who was traded to Toronto to put the Argonauts in position to win the Grey Cup that November.
“It was tough when Ricky got traded because he’s such a great teammate. Everyone in the league knows the kind of quarterback he is,” Stamps said. “It was tough playing with a guy for so long, a starting quarterback I’ve known since I came here...”
He trails off before continuing: “To go on from when he got traded, it was tough.”
As mythology would tell, Chiron was the wisest of the centaurs, his named is derived from a Greek word meaning “skilled with the hands”.
Stamps has been an offensive intellect since college, where he played for the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He finished his career second on the Ragin’ Cajuns all-time list in receptions and receiving yards, and was a first-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection in 2002 and 2003.
Chiron’s stroke of bad luck was a stray arrow to the thigh. Zeus gave Chiron a place among the constellations, where he’d eternally carry his wound.
Unlike the mythological creature, Stamps didn’t carry a physical injury into his last season, but a weight that called on him to be a leader in a season that never stopped buzzing about the Ray trade.
“I’m the type of leader who likes to lead by example. I’m not the guy who’s all ‘rah rah’ trying to make a lot of noise,” he said.
His example is strapping up to put on a show for the fans. He says they’re the ones who make the league.
“The fans and the tradition in the CFL, some of the different places you go, that’s the type of stuff that I think every rookie coming into the CFL should experience and embrace,” he said. “..If you go back down south [to the NFL]: good for you. People have their own reasons, but this is a league that is growing every year.