Ficklin has learned a lot from Maxie
From the Calgary Herald M Petrie
Everything Tony Ficklin knows about the Canadian Football League, he owes to Demetrious Maxie.
Now, as fickle fate would have it, the rookie defensive lineman has Maxie scrapping for his job.
"I don't think of it like that," Ficklin insisted Wednesday afternoon at Calgary Stampeders training camp. "He's made an impact on me and my life. He shows me what to do and what not to do.
"I'm not trying to take his job. I'm trying to be there to support him. I just keep running, keep working, keep focused, keep making all my plays. Make sure I do everything the right way."
Ficklin arrived in Calgary during the 2005 season and Maxie immediately put his arm around the enthusiastic youngster and began showing him the way.
He told him to tone down his boisterous ways. He helped him learn the Canadian game. He was a support figure away from the field and a personal coach on it.
"He changed my life a lot," said the 24-year-old. "If I want to hang out, I call him. If I need to borrow money, anything, he's there. His nickname is D-Max and they call me Little D-Max."
But it's possible at this camp that the student could surpass the teacher.
Maxie is coming off a season in which he started as one of the Calgary's best players -- offence or defence -- until he injured his knee. He's fully healthy now and having a tremendous camp.
There are some factors, however, that have him in a tight spot.
For starters, Terrence Patrick, who also plays the boundary end, signed a contract in the off-season for three years, plus an option. He's guaranteed a place on the squad.
That means Maxie is squaring off with Ficklin, who is eight years younger, gets paid much less and also was a devastating fullback in college who would add a welcome wrinkle to Calgary's offence.
"Anybody can hype it up as much as they want, but I'm going to do the same thing I do every year," said Maxie. "If a guy is better than me, he deserves to have my job. When you start worrying about your job, that's when bad things start happening.
"If you start looking at those things (salary, age), you're worrying too much. I don't even sweat it. You can't. If I did, I'd look like Randy (defensive tackle Chevrier) here with all those damn grey hairs on my face."
This isn't the first time Maxie has been down this road. Numerous times, coaches have brought players in to challenge him, but he always defends his position.
Perhaps this camp will end the same way.
But just as he took Robert Presbury's job with the Baltimore Stallions in 1995, Maxie realizes his day will come. He's just hoping it's not quite yet.
"I love to play the game because it's still fun," he said. I love to have my kids talking to me after the game -- "Daddy you did good" -- because I'm playing for them."
Defensive line coach Casey Creehan has been monitoring this situation closely and is thrilled with Maxie, Patrick, Ficklin, as well as field end Rahim Abdullah.
"Is there a chance for change? Sure," said Creehan. "Is it going to happen? I don't know. That's why you go through training camp and play pre-season games."