June 4, 2014

Stamps receiving corps taking shape early in camp


Stampeders.com Staff

CALGARY — Jeff Fuller is picking up right where he left off.

After making a favourable impression in his 2013 audition with the Stampeders, Fuller has turned in an eye-catching performance so far in training camp.

“Jeff Fuller has had an excellent camp so far,” said Stampeders head coach and general manager John Hufnagel. “He comes out and he works hard each and every day. I don’t like to compare people but he reminds me of Allen Pitts with his work habits.”

That would be Hall-of-Famer Allen Pitts, whose No. 18 has been officially retired by the Stamps and who holds virtually every Calgary receiving record worth holding.

In his first taste of the Canadian Football League, the rangy receiver from Texas A&M showed tantalizing potential as he made 15 catches for 254 yards in three regular-season contests with the Stamps.

His high-water mark came in the Oct. 26 game in which the Red and White knocked off the Roughriders to clinch first place in the West Division as he hauled in six passes for 113 yards.

With the 2013 head-start, it figures that the six-foot-four, 223-lb. Stanford, Calif., native — who is still classified as a rookie — is turning heads at camp but other first-year players are also catching the coach’s eye.

“There are a lot of young guys out there who do have good skill and they’ve all done a tremendous job of learning the offence,” said Hufnagel. “It’s probably the best rookie receiver group I have had (when it comes) to putting their time in their playbook and have come out for the first day of training camp with the vets and not made very many mistakes.”

The rookie group of pass-catchers at camp includes Canadian Yannick Morin-Plante and imports Sederrik Cunningham, Damon McDaniel, Damian Ford, Robert Holland, Aldarius Johnson and Marcus Rucker.

Lewis returns to action

It was the best birthday present Nik Lewis could ever ask for.

On the day the veteran slotback turned 32, he returned to full practice with the Stamps at McMahon Stadium. Lewis had sat out the first two days of practice so that an injection to relieve joint pain could take full effect.

It was only the morning session as Lewis was kept out of action during the afternoon practice, but after 287 days out of action since breaking his ankle during Week 8 of the 2013 season, it was more than enough to bring a smile to the all-star’s face.

Lewis is already in a feisty mood, trying to prove wrong the skeptics who doubt he can come back from such a serious injury at his age. Or, as he prefers to put it, to prove himself right that he can get back in his familiar No. 82 jersey and be as good as ever.

The boss is satisfied with the early returns on Lewis.

“I’m pleased with (the shape he’s in),” said Stamps head coach and general manager John Hufnagel. “What will really tell the story is when he has a couple of days of practice and how does he holds up with that.”