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Joining the Stampeders was an easy choice for Emanuel Davis.
“It’s a winning culture, it’s a first-class culture,” said the international defensive back. “I’ve talked to a lot of guys that have been over in Calgary and they talk real highly about the program and the people in the program. They’re highly recommended through the league and I felt like it was a no-brainer for me.”
The 28-year-old signed with the Stamps as a free agent on Tuesday after being released by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Feb. 1.
Davis and the Stampeders had discussions when he was a free agent during last year’s offseason, but he ended up signing a two-year deal with Hamilton.
“A fresh start is priceless,” said the native of Manteo, North Carolina. “You get rid of any baggage or any misconceptions or anything like that. A fresh start is a fresh start, I’m coming in to play football and make plays and just contribute to the team.”
Davis has amassed 191 defensive tackles, 10 interceptions, six forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, four touchdowns and a sack in 61 regular-season games over five CFL seasons.
Despite his own experience, he’s excited to learn from his new teammates.
“I’ve always watched those guys from afar,” said Davis, who joins a defensive backfield that features the likes of Jamar Wall, Brandon Smith, Shaquille Richardson and Ciante Evans. “(you steal) little techniques from those guys cause I know they’ve kind of had an older group, so those guys know the tricks of the trade. I’ve always watched them from afar and it’s going to be good to get on the field with those guys.”
A two-time East Division all-star in 2015 and 2016, Davis was limited to six games last season due to injury, and is eager to show he belongs in one of the league’s best secondaries.
“I think I can bring just that love for the game, just the hard work and blue-collar mentality — willing to do anything for a win,” said Davis. “I feel like my track record speaks for itself. I know the game, the CFL game, and I’ve been able to make plays in the past and I think I feel like I can bring that play-making ability, that hunger.
“I’m a team guy first so I feel like I can be a chameleon and blend in and do things to help the program a lot.”
Until now, Davis had spent his entire CFL career with the Tiger-Cats, and he won’t have to wait long to see them again. The Stampeders kick off the 2018 season against Hamilton at McMahon Stadium on June 16.
“I’m looking forward to that meeting, but I want to treat that game like any other game — when I step out there on the field, I’m going to give it my all no matter who I’m playing,” said the former Ticat. “That’ll be a good game to win, but I’m going to treat every game like a Hamilton game, so to speak.”