HAMILTON — At 33 years old, Hamilton Tiger-Cats receiver Dave Stala is fully aware that his time in the CFL is nearing its end.
However, that doesn’t mean the 10-year veteran won’t do everything in his power to ensure that whatever time he does has left is spent playing some top notch football.
“We’ll see how my body holds up. I try to play year-to-year now and over the last couple of years I’ve changed my diet and have been able to stay healthy the last four years,” said Stala when asked if this contract would be his last.
“I don’t think I’m slowing down, I’m still doing the things I can out there. I’ll take it one year at a time, play this year and see where we’re at next year,” he added.
And you can bet that Stala is hoping this year is better than last. Playing under George Cortez’s offensive system, Stala tallied his lowest statistical totals since joining the Tiger-Cats in 2009.
In 16 games in 2012, Stala hauled in 42 passes for 655 yards and a mere four touchdowns, failing to register even one 100-yard game in the process. But with a new head coach in Kent Austin and offensive coordinator in Tommy Condell ushering in a new era of optimism in Hamilton, Stala hopes to find himself in the middle of a lot more action in 2013.
“I hope so, that’s the plan,” replied Stala after being asked if he anticipates being more involved next year.
“As a receiver in this league, you should always want footballs and there are five guys so everyone’s going to be fighting for it. I felt left out a little bit last year so I hope I can contribute a little bit more this year. If you look over the last couple of years when I did get the ball we had a lot of success, so hopefully I can do that next year,” he added.
Last week saw Stala cap off a string of days where the Ticats announced the signings of Canadian veterans, as both Marwan Hage and Pete Dyakowski scribed their names on the dotted line for more work in Hamilton.
Stala, who broke into the CFL in 2003 as a member of the Alouettes, says that his decision weighed heavily on the aforementioned transactions.
“Speaking with Marwan and Peter, seeing them sign is big,” said Stala.
“It solidifies our offensive line. I think our offensive core is very strong this year and as long as we can pull together in all three phases I think we’ll be a tough team to play against,” he added.
With a decade’s worth of action under his belt, Stala has seen his role evolve from young stud towards a grizzled mentor, something he is definitely proud of.
“Over the last couple of years, I’ve tried to help out the younger guys and they definitely listen,” he said.
“We have a great core here so, Andy (Fantuz), Chris (Williams) Bakari (Grant) and Sam (Giguere), so we’re going to be a great bunch this year. But again, I do a little bit, but I’m not here to help other guys, I’m here to be successful, I want to help our team win football games.”