Rambo’s return leaves Stamps overloaded

Rambo’s back, and he’s ready to wreak some havoc.

Rambo’s back, and he’s ready to wreak some havoc.

No, not another lame attempt by Sly Stallone to squeeze a few more dollars out of a corny franchise (although a prequel is reportedly in the works), but Calgary Stampeders receiver Ken-Yon Rambo.

And while the CFL version is every bit as vicious as the battle-hardened Hollywood star, Rambo’s return has cast light on an issue already being whispered about a great deal around McMahon Stadium.

The Stampeders have too many receivers.

The current head count of potential game-ready pass-catchers is up to nine with the re-signing of ex-Winnipeg Blue Bomber Jabari Arthur a few weeks back.

Now, this is not the type of thing that can make or break a team this early in the Canadian Football League season; however, with a potentially tight battle looming against the mean, green Saskatchewan Roughriders machine for West Division supremacy, the horsemen will want to have their roster settled come post-season time.

Calgary quarterback Henry Burris has proven he can shine when the big game is on the line, but only if the right pieces are put in around him.

So, let’s assume Rambo is No. 1, and his first game back against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers July 31 — where he logged six receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown — indicates he likely is.

Seven-year veteran Nik Lewis is a prized candidate for the No. 2 spot, but after that is where things get interesting.

Romby Bryant, who was picked up from Winnipeg in the second half of last season along with Arjel Franklin, has excelled with the red and white, bringing up an issue about whether ever-consistent wideout Ryan Thelwell should be pushed down the depth chart.

Franklin might also fill the spot well, if he rekindles some of the magic he found in the ’Peg a few years back.

And don’t forget about, recently injured big-bodied journeyman P.K. Sam — brought over during the move that sent superstar Jeremaine Copeland to Toronto — and the aforementioned Arthur, who showed flashes of brilliance with the Stampeders before going down with an injury in the team’s final pre-season game last year.

Giving youth a chance to shine is also an important component of any well-rounded receiving corps, and Kansas State product Deon Murphy, 24, along with local boy Johnny Forzani, 21, are chomping at the bit — the latter adds a particularly interesting layer to the already perplexing equation by being the godson of Stampeders head coach and general manager John Hufnagel.

That’s a lot of outstretched hands, and there are only so many throws.

Things were much simpler in 2008, when the Stamps last kissed the Grey Cup.

Rambo, Lewis, Copeland and the now-retired Brett Ralph were the big four, with an occasional grab coming from Thelwell or veteran Teyo Johnson.

Try naming this year’s big four.

Now, there is no need to push the panic button. Hufnagel and co. simply need to sit down and make a few decisions in the weeks and months ahead, before Burris is left scratching his head and the team is left to watch the ’Riders seek revenge for last’s year heartbreaking Grey Cup defeat.

It would be a real shame if that happened, as Calgary has the talent to win the whole damn thing.

They just might have too much talent.

Jeremy Nolais is a Calgary-area sports columnist whose column appears in the Advocate every second Wednesday

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