Stafford could play right away

It may not be long before Riders fans see their team’s newest receiver in action.

Shaq Evans didn’t take part in practice Tuesday. He injured his left ankle in Monday’s practice. If he can’t play on Friday, the newly-acquired Kenny Stafford will take Evans’ place.

“Kenny is the guy if Shaq can’t go,” says Head Coach Craig Dickenson. “I shouldn’t say we don’t have any American receivers, because we do. But we have some young guys on the (practice roster) that aren’t quite ready. So, I think if Shaq can’t go, you’re going to see Kenny Stafford out there.”

That’s just fine by Stafford, who says “It feels good to be wanted.”

“Guys have welcomed me in. Feeling wonderful, feeling welcome, feeling ready to go.”

His liberal use of the word ‘welcome’ makes you wonder how he really feels about Edmonton trading him away. Stafford wouldn’t say much other than it was a surprise.

“Any time you’re playing good football and you’re productive you don’t think you’re on the trading block.”

‘Productive’ is accurate–Stafford is 11th in the CFL in receiving yards.

“I made Edmonton my home, that’s my off-season home. I live there year-round. So, it was a little bit of shock but at the end of the day it feels good to be wanted.”

Tuesday was a closed practice so the media couldn’t see Stafford in action. He says he worked with the second-team receivers as a slotback to the wide side of the field (the spot Kyran Moore plays with the first team).

“I’m a speed guy. I blow the top off a defense. I demand a shell, I demand someone to play over top of me because if you don’t, I’m going to hurt you.”

His versatility and experience were appealing to the Riders.

“I can play all five positions,” says Stafford. “So I’m a veteran guy who adds a little spice.”

Stafford will wear the number 5, recently worn by KD Cannon.

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