Clutching his new souvenir football, Jerome Messam wasn’t about to fumble.
“He’s a legend,” said Messam, who plans to display the ball alongside one he had signed by former running back Jerome Bettis, who retired after winning a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006. “For Doug, he just had a great career.
“For him to do the things he did up here and then to go back in the NFL and flourish and have such great success, it’s just awesome.”
Messam, Mitchell and their teammates had a meet-and-greet session with members of Calgary’s 1992 Grey Cup-winning team Friday at McMahon Stadium. Flutie spent four of his eight CFL seasons with the Stampeders (1992-95) before returning to the NFL in ’98 with the Buffalo Bills after leading the Toronto Argonauts to consecutive championships (1996-97).
On Monday night, the Argos added Flutie to their all-time team prior to a 27-24 home win over the Ottawa Redblacks.
“Just to see these guys come back after these years and see the relationships and bonds be so strong, it just lets you know this game, it never really leaves you,” Messam said. “For them to win a championship together and share those memories, it just puts things into perspective for us on how much we want to have those same feelings.”
Calgary (3-1-1) hosts the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-4) on Saturday night looking to run its McMahon Stadium win streak to 13 straight games. At halftime, Flutie and his former teammates will be honoured as part of what’s being billed as Legacy Night.
Mitchell said while it’s exciting to meet members of the 1992 squad, the Stampeders remain focused on the task at hand.
“We’re professionals,” he said. “We’re here to play a game, we’ve studied all week.
“There’s not 40 women in bikinis over there trying to get you not to come to the game (Saturday). It’s a bunch of old football players talking a little bit, chatting a little bit and then just stay focused on the game.”