Wed, January 30, 2008
Stamp of approval
UPDATED: 2008-01-30 02:19:55 MST
Calgary waits to see if Dickenson accepts contract offer to backup Burris
By ERIC FRANCIS
The Calgary Stampeders have made it official -- they want Dave Dickenson.
However, let it be known they hope he doesn't play much at all.
"We are basically trying to sign Dave to be a backup quarterback to Henry Burris," confirmed Stamps head coach John Hufnagel yesterday, making his first comments on the move since the Sun reported it yesterday.
"We want character people here and Dave brings a lot of that to the table ... if he so chooses to join us. We're comfortable with what we've offered and we're hoping Dave wears the red and white."
The formal contract tabled to the 35-year-old free agent yesterday comes almost a month after Hufnagel initiated discussions with the Calgary-based quarterback. The two have known each other since 1996 when Dickenson spent his first pro season on the Stamps practice roster and Hufnagel was in his final year as the team's offensive co-ordinator.
Hufnagel made it clear Dickenson's arrival would not prompt an open competition at camp for the starting gig -- a point he wanted to hammer home with Burris, too. Burris has been dealing with a death in the family and was informed of the team's pursuit of Dickenson by the Sun Monday, causing Burris' agent and several Stamps front office types to panic. After all, Burris and Dickenson share the same agent, Ken Staninger.
"I had planned on talking to Henry in person when I first got involved with this in January but he was not in town," explained Hufnagel.
"When I got in town last night, I planned on meeting today to explain what we were trying to do and why. Your article beat me to it but Henry and I just had an hour-long conversation and he hopes Dave is his teammate. They worked together for three years so they're comfortable with each other."
Both players had said Monday they would look forward to being teammates again with their roles reversed.
Dickenson has long hoped to finish his career in Calgary where he lives in the off-season with his wife and two young kids. Following three concussions in as many seasons, the 2006 Grey Cup MVP is debating whether he wants to pursue a starting job opportunity in Toronto or backup gigs in Winnipeg or Calgary. For what it's worth, the Argos are hesitant to publicly admit Dickenson was made an offer even though they wined and dined him in Toronto last week.
Dickenson said he has salary numbers in mind to play as a starter or a backup and if they aren't met, he's content to retire. He knows he'll be taking a massive pay cut from the $400,000 he made last year.
If he signs in Calgary, he'd give the Stamps an insurance policy the club hasn't had since Dickenson and Burris backed up Jeff Garcia in 1998.
"We're moving along here," said Dickenson yesterday as he mulled over his options.
"I don't think anything's going to happen today."
But it will in the next week.