Story regarding the Omar Evans Trade

Then trade veteran Evans to Bombers

Michael Petrie
Calgary Herald

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The Calgary Stampeders are in a gambling mood.

For starters, they signed cornerback Rashard Anderson, a former National Football League first-round draft pick who violated the league's drug policy in 2002 and hasn't played since.

Then, they traded veteran cornerback Omar Evans to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday for future considerations.

Stamps head coach Tom Higgins wouldn't confirm the addition of Anderson, but he did explain the swap.

"We're going to change over and let our young guys get all the reps possible," he said. "When you compare a veteran to a younger player, the veteran can usually win with experience and being comfortable with what you're doing.

"But we have some very talented young players."

The presence of Anderson in the secondary -- along with former NFL third-round pick Ben Kelly and former NFLer Jermaine Chatman -- made Evans expendable.

Evans joined Calgary last season and re-signed with the club in February. But the addition of key prospects and a higher salary left him vulnerable.

"It does come into play because anyone without CFL experience is going to cost a little less than someone with experience," said Higgins.

"And with the physical tools that some of our young players have, it makes sense."

Since the Stamps didn't want Evans, they would have been concerned about him going to training camp and suffering an injury. He missed most of the 2004 season with a wrist injury, and had he been hurt at camp, the club would have been forced to keep him and pay his salary.

If the Stamps wanted to trade him, his value also was higher Friday than it might be in a month, when opposing clubs know he's going to be cut.

"We do it now or risk it not happening," said Higgins.

If Anderson pans out, he could be a legitimate difference-maker.

He was the second cornerback taken in the 2000 NFL draft, 23rd overall, after Deltha O'Neal of Denver.

At six-foot-two, 205 pounds, Anderson ran a 4.43-second time in the

40-yard dash and had scouts drooling with his combination of size and speed. He played in 27 NFL games, with nine starts, 59 tackles and one interception over two seasons.

However, that was three years ago. His career has since taken a major detour.

In May 2002, Anderson was suspended for one year by the NFL after failing multiple drug tests. The suspension lasted two years before he was eligible for reinstatement -- and at that point, the Panthers released him.

He hasn't played football since.