June 29, 2011

Stampeders sign QB Michael Bishop


CALGARY — The Calgary Stampeders have added some insurance at quarterback by signing Michael Bishop.

He will back up fellow import Henry Burris.

“Michael is a veteran in this league and he instantly adds depth to our quarterback position,” head coach John Hufnagel said in a release. “There isn’t much that Michael hasn’t seen in his eight years in this league.”

Bishop has played in 124 CFL games with Toronto, Saskatchewan and most recently Winnipeg. He was signed after Stamps backup Drew Tate went down with an injured shoulder in Calgary’s second pre-season game.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” Bishop said. “You’ve just got to be ready when you’re called. You never think that an injury would come (like) what happened to Tate. You don’t sit at home saying, `I’ll wait on a phone call.’ But a phone call came.”

Bishop, a runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 1998, practised with the Stamps on Wednesday and said he’ll be ready to back up Burris if needed when the Stamps host the Toronto Argonauts in Friday’s season opener.

“If I’ve got to come in and run a couple sneaks and we move the ball and we get a first down, that’s my part,” said Bishop.

The veteran pivot has thrown for more than 11,000 career yards and has 66 CFL touchdowns.

“He’s not coming here (like) any kind of superhero or nothing like that, but he’s coming here to be a part of this team and help this team win,” said receiver Nik Lewis. “He’s a guy that you feel like you can win games with if you had to, so that’s the bottom line.”

The good news for Calgary is Burris has played the last 58 games.

“Of course I’ve been in this offence for a few years, so I have that comfort level beyond where he’s at right now,” Burris said. “But the more he gets comfortable he’ll definitely be able to do a lot of the same things as far as I do within this offence.

“In case of emergency he may have to be the guy to go in, but right now hopefully I can go in there and stay healthy and get the ball in my hands and make good decisions all day.”

Rookie pivot Brad Sinopoli could also play if necessary.