EDMONTON — Fred Stamps has 431 career receptions, 6,812 yards and 42 touchdowns, but right now the Edmonton slotback would trade it all in for one victory for the struggling Eskimos.
The 31-year-old receiver had eight catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns in the team’s heartbreaking 30-27 loss to Saskatchewan last Saturday, statistics that moved Stamps into the top five of all-time Eskimo receivers for catches and yards, and top eight in touchdowns.
Yet there he sat, looking as forlorn as any player possibly could; his individual performance meaning very little.
“I’d give it all for a victory,” he said of the individual stats. “I appreciate all the history and tradition. I look up to all the guys who were here before me and it’s an honour to be mentioned with those guys, but I want a victory.”
The Eskimos have now lost six straight since beating Hamilton in week two of the CFL season. Their last four games they have lost by a combined total of 12 points. Now they face the 6-2 Calgary Stampeders in the annual Labour Day back-to-back series beginning Monday in Calgary.
Destined for the Eskimos Wall of Honour and likely the CFL Hall of Fame, the six-foot, 188-pound Stamps is finding the Eskimos 1-7 season and their recent string of narrow losses difficult to deal with, admitting frustration is mounting in the dressing room.
“It is so tough (to take),” he said. “I’m just so hungry right now, I want to win. I know there’s a lot of history and tradition (with the individual stats) but I just want to win right now.”
And he’s been doing everything in his power to try to get the Eskimos those elusive wins. He leads the league in receiving yards (684) and touchdowns (six) and has been the team’s most consistent offensive player all year. Just as he has throughout his seven years in the CFL.
“Freddie’s a tremendous player,” said quarterback Mike Reilly, who has found Stamps 36 times this season.
“It’s rare to see a veteran guy, who has had so much success in this league, who is still willing to put in the effort and the time that a rookie who’s trying to make the team would. He shows up as if he’s still fighting for a roster spot every day.”
Reilly, a first-year Eskimo, said the veteran is always talking to him, asking about how to run certain routes, how to cut to increase the chances of a successful play or whether doing things one way or another would work.
“To see that in a veteran guy who’s had so much success and still remains so humble and hungry to continue to get better is rare,” Reilly said. “Geroy Simon was like that. That’s what separates the guys who are really great from the guys who are just really, really good. And Freddie is truly great.”
In an effort to shore up a disappointing defence that is giving up an average of 30 points a game, the Eskimos signed import defensive lineman Nekos Brown and non-import defensive back Ryan Hinds on Wednesday.
Hinds was selected in the second round (13th overall) of the 2009 CFL Canadian draft by Hamilton. He had 71 defensive tackles, 10 special teams tackles and an interception in three seasons (2010-12) with the Tiger-Cats.
Brown played two games earlier this season with the Toronto Argonauts recording one tackle and one sack.