The Calgary Stampeders quietly continue to revamp their roster.
After holding a free-agent camp earlier this week at McMahon Stadium, the Stamps are set to introduce at least four new players with National Football League experience.
The most notable is quarterback Giovanni Carmazzi, a third-round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2000. Others include receivers Ken-Yon Rambo and Tywan Mitchell and linebacker Cornelius Anthony.
Carmazzi joins Henry Burris, Darnell Kennedy and Michael Souza on the Stamps’ quarterback depth chart. He came highly recommended by Stamps offensive co-ordinator Steve Buratto, who coached him last season with the B.C. Lions.
“He has a great upside,” said Buratto. “He has wonderful athletic skills, he can run like mad. He has plenty good enough arm strength. He’s a tireless worker and he’s very dedicated to the game.”
Carmazzi, 28, spent two seasons with the Niners and one in NFL-Europe, but his career was sidetracked by nerve damage to his throwing arm. He tried out for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2003 before coming to the CFL.
B.C.'s quarterback wealth made Carmazzi expendable this off-season.
“Last year was good just to start playing football again,” said Carmazzi. "You’d like to be the starter, or whatever. But in reality, when you haven’t played football for three years, you just want to get back at it, knock some of that rust off and start being a football player again. That’s what last year was and hopefully I’ll make some strides.
“Obviously, Henry’s the No. 1 guy here and the backup situation will unfold as the season goes along. I’m just here to compete, have fun and contribute in any way I possibly can.”
Rambo was the most eye-catching talent at Calgary’s free-agent camp and hasn’t signed a contract yet. The Stamps plan on locking him up soon.
Rambo was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the seventh round of the 2001 NFL lottery. He spent two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and parts of two seasons with the New York Jets.
The former blue-chip prospect has 17 career NFL receptions and, despite obvious physical talents, has been inconsistent as a pro.
Mitchell is a six-foot-five, 250-pound specimen, who spent two years with the Arizona Cardinals and one with the Detroit Lions. He had 25 catches for the Cards in 2001.
Anthony had stints with the Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and with the Barcelona Dragons in NFL Europe.
“With this camp, we were able to sign guys from our neg list that we’ve been looking at,” said Stamps general manager Jim Barker. "It was great to put these players in a CFL setting and see how they adapted.
“It was also a great opportunity for our coaches to work together. This was the same type of camp we’ll be having in Pittsburgh on the 30th (of May) and April 1 in Newark.”
The Stamps also released import offensive tackle Seth Dittman, a CFL West Division all-star last season. After trying to trade the 32-year-old and finding no takers, they recently let him go.
“In fairness to Seth, we’re going to play an all-Canadian offensive line and we wanted to give him a chance to catch on somewhere else,” said Barker.