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Adam Berger and Brad Erdos were teammates at Simon Fraser University, and later roommates when they suited up together as members of the Stampeders.
That history wasn’t enough to earn Erdos an inside track on Berger’s free-agency plans, not even when the defensive back and special teams player re-signed with the Stampeders.
“I hadn’t told him at all that there was ongoing talks and when I had even signed either,” Berger chuckled. “So I guess his wife showed him the Twitter post or whatever, and he called me up and he was like, ‘Dude, why didn’t you tell me?’, and I was like, ‘Surprise!”.”
Berger played four seasons with the Stampeders from 2013 to 2016.
On Feb. 13, he signed a contract to return to the team that drafted him after spending the 2017 season with the Ottawa RedBlacks.
“I’m really happy to be back, I’m super excited,” said the 27-year-old Vancouver native. “I’m ready to roll now. I know it’s not even March yet but I’m ready for camp, I want to be back.”
Berger began pondering a return to the Stampeders when his friend and former teammate Joshua Bell first told him in early December that he was contemplating retirement and a role with the Stampeders coaching staff.
When that move was confirmed in early February, Berger knew where he wanted to be.
“Immediately, Calgary jumped off the page to me as somewhere that I really, really wanted to return to,” said Berger. “Obviously, they treated me well and they have a great team and a great organization, so I always would have been okay going back. But as soon as that kind of happened, I was really, really hoping that [I would go back], and then it all worked out on signing day, so yeah, it was perfect.”
Because the Stampeders were previously utilizing an international safety in Bell, Berger decided that it made sense to explore other options during last year’s free agency, ultimately choosing to sign with the RedBlacks.
The emergence of national player Tunde Adeleke at the safety position this past season, coupled with Bell’s move to defensive backs coach, made a return to Calgary more than ideal for Berger.
“It was kind of a two-fold thing where I’m good friends with [Bell] and I know he’s going to be an excellent coach so that had its own draw,” he explained. “But then also the fact that the team was moving towards a Canadian safety also had a big draw, giving me opportunity to be a backup or whatever my role is going to be there, it will possibly be more significant than when I was first there.”
Berger expects Adeleke to be “the guy” for the Stampeders when they kick off their 2018 season, and that’s just fine with him.
For now, at least.
“Anywhere I sign, I want to start, I want to play as much as I can. So I’m coming into camp ready, I’m going to be competing, I’m going to make sure he’s on his A-game and knows all his stuff and all that,” said Berger. “But at the end of the day, I try to put my ego aside for what’s best for the team, and if he’s our guy going forth then I will support him 100 percent. If something happens, whatever happens, and I’m in there, I’m going to be ready to go.”