‘It’s been terrible on them’: Stamps’ head coach Dave Dickenson feels for players, willing to do whatever it takes to get back on the field

Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com
Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Calgary Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson believes the CFL will be back on the field soon but even he is becoming impatient when it comes to the lack of scheduling clarity.

“I’m confident. I feel like there’s been some people that are way higher up the ladder on decision-making than me say we’re going to play this year,” Dickenson told Sportsnets’ Scott Rintoul and Karen Surman Thursday.

“I just want those guys to come out and tell us when.”

As a Hall of Fame CFL quarterback, Dickenson knows all too well the struggles players can face while playing in the CFL. While he now wears the coach’s hat, he still feels tremendous empathy for their situation.

“To be honest, it’s been terrible on them. You know, I was a player for many years and I actually sometimes forget that I don’t have the player’s hat on. I really do feel like I know that other side as good as a lot of people. They’re committed to us and yet there’s all sorts of things up in the air,” Dickenson said.

“Even right now, they have jobs, they have rent, and they just need to know when is it time to go to our bosses and say ‘hey, I’ll see you in a year. I’m going to Canada to play some ball’. That’s the questions that you feel for the players on.”

While he might normally be all in on getting players geared up for the season, Dickenson has been much more tentative this year, not wanting to risk the security of his Stampeders’ players.

“As soon as you can get a schedule and as soon as we feel like it’s a green light, I do feel more confident that I can talk to the players and say let’s go,” the coach admitted.

“Until then I’ve been kind of telling them we’re thinking it’s still in May, get your body right, get mentally right, but I wouldn’t necessarily retire from that job that’s giving you food on your table.”

In the face of exactly that type of dilemma, several prominent CFL players, including Delvin Breaux, Bryant Mitchell and Ricky Collins, have opted to end their football careers.

That is an impossible choice to make and one Dickenson respects, but couldn’t do himself.

“I would go on record as saying that most of the time real work and real jobs will be there for you, whereas football is just such a finite small window. I would take it as far as it can take me and I did,” he said.

“I mean, I wasn’t able to stop. Basically someone else had to tell me when to stop.”

Even with cases rising, the return of lockdowns and XFL speculation dominating the conversation, Dickenson only cares about one thing: getting himself and his players back on the field.

Whatever he has to do to make it happen, he’ll do it.

“I’m going to tell you this guys, I’m more than willing to do whatever they tell me to do to play. I don’t really care if we need to take a little cut,” Dickenson insisted.

“I want to play so bad and I  think we need this basically as a country, but also as Calgary Stampeders.”

There are thousands of CFL fans who couldn’t agree more.