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June 29, 2019

HIS TIME TO SHINE

In search of the ever-elusive ‘more’.

Personally.

Collectively.

“I look at this year,’’ Reggie Begelton is saying, the reflection of welcoming sun’s rays glinting off his shades following Friday morning’s walk-through, “as my opportunity to make a statement right out of the blocks and start building my resume.

“I thought I’d already be there by now but then I got hurt last year.

“Unfortunately things happen. You just have to deal with them and come back stronger.

“At the beginning, you come in as a rookie and somebody’s already in front of you.

“We’re all professional athletes. Everybody’s just as good as everybody else. So not playing can be a tough pill to swallow but paying your dues is a part of the game.

“I think I showed some things last year.

“Now I need to continue proving myself.”

One of the many conscripted to duty during the injury infestation that gutted the Calgary Stampeders’ pass-catching corps a year ago, Begelton announced himself as a reliable contributor in large, capital, gilt-edged letters, making 25 catches over seven starts for 488 yards, a TD (an audacious 99-yard pitch-and-catch with Bo Levi Mitchell), a rather ostentatious 19.5 per-snare average and a CFL Player of the Week nod.

Cruelly, a broken arm suffered on a special-teams play late in the first quarter of a Sept. 28 home fixture against the Toronto Argonauts shut him down for the remainder of the campaign, including the 106th Grey Cup tilt.

“I will say that last year when Reggie first got in we were all very confident that we had a guy who was a bonafide starter just waiting for his shot,’’ says Costanza.

“And he proved us right; started showing the rest of the league that here was guy teams had to be concerned about.

“Unfortunately he was one of the long list of casualties we sustained at the position. But he’s back now and has a big opportunity in front of him.”

With the 0-2 B.C. Lions arriving in town, both Begelton and his mates are determined to improve in both execution and result.

Following a bye week in the wake of the season-opening loss to Ottawa, the Stamps are bent on gaining a measure of momentum, football players being notorious creates of habit.

“More creatures of schedule, I’d say,” corrects Costanza. “You’ve got your four days of practice, 1-2-3-4 and then it’s game day. Your fix is game day.

“This week, honestly, it doesn’t feel as if we’re preparing for Game Two. Seems as if we’ve been at this a lot longer than that. Seems like forever, to be honest.

“I’m just glad it’s finally here. I think we all are.”

Amen, echoes Begelton.

“Coming out of camp, a game then bye week feels like we never really got out of camp. In a sense, (Ottawa) felt like another pre-season game. I think that showed in different ways. We weren’t quite ourselves.

“This, getting ready for this game, feels more like the start of the season, to be honest.”

The 2019 opener versus the Ottawa Redblacks two Saturdays back could only be described as a relatively subdued night for the third-season slotback out of Beaumont, Tx. — five catches for 34 yards.

“Last week, first game, Reggie did well even though the ball didn’t find him much,’’ adjudges Costanza. “But he had a better week in practice and there’s a lot going on at his position as far as the run game, the pass game, what he’s got to learn.

“This season certainly could be a big statement for him. But only time will tell.

“He’s had some great performances for us. So we’ve seen the talent. We’ve seen the potential.

“He’s primed to break out again. Hopefully soon.

“Ideally tonight.”