STAMPS IN ED­MON­TON

Grey Cup cov­er­age

Calgary Herald - - FRONT PAGE - DANNY AUSTIN [email protected]­media.com www.twit­ter.com/Dan­nyAustin_9

Lead­er­ship comes in many dif­fer­ent forms.

In his first two sea­sons, Ciante Evans was one of the qui­etest guys in the locker-room.

This year, though, the Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers cor­ner has started talk­ing a bit more.

And when you’re a three-time all-star, your team­mates lis­ten.

That doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean Evans has sud­denly be­come the loud­est guy in the Stamps room, though.

“I mean, he’s a nat­u­rally soft-spo­ken dude,” said Stamps de­fen­sive tackle Micah John­son. “He talks more for him, but it’s still not that much.”

While Evans is prob­a­bly never go­ing to be the sort of player who yells and shouts at his team­mates, he has un­doubt­edly emerged as a leader in his third year.

His team­mates be­lieve he’s the best cor­ner in the league, and the CFL’s all-star vot­ers agree, hav­ing voted him to his third straight West Divi­sion All- Star team at the end of this sea­son.

It’s al­ways hard to quan­tify a de­fen­sive back’s value to a team be­cause in gen­eral, the bet­ter they are the less likely op­pos­ing quar­ter­backs are to throw the ball their way.

That’s cer­tainly true of Evans. While he fin­ished the sea­son with 29 de­fen­sive tack­les and two in­ter­cep­tions, the fact that ri­val CFL quar­ter­backs were often re­luc­tant to air the ball out in his di­rec­tion is where his real value seems to lie.

And when he talks, the Stam­ped­ers lis­ten.

“He’s a three-time all-star, he can say what­ever he wants in the locker-room and peo­ple are go­ing to lis­ten,” said Stamps line­backer Alex Sin­gle­ton. “He de­serves that voice and he is a leader in the back-end. He makes all the plays and, like any­body, that’s how you be­come a leader.

“He’s a quiet leader, but he def­i­nitely leads by ex­am­ple on the field and when he says some­thing, ev­ery­one’s lis­ten­ing.”

De­spite his quiet de­meanour, Evans has be­come more vo­cal this sea­son. He speaks more often with the me­dia and in a de­fen­sive back­field that lost three starters last sea­son he was more than will­ing to em­brace the lead­er­ship role that his team needed him to play.

“Yeah, I was go­ing to do any­thing to help my team back to where we are right now,” Evans said. “It de­pends on ev­ery sit­u­a­tion, we’ve got a vet­eran group and there ain’t re­ally no rook­ies ex­cept for our bound­ary cor­ner (Tre Rober­son) and he’s do­ing a hell of a job com­ing along.

“I fig­ured if I just step up and show some­thing dif­fer­ent than I might get that dif­fer­ent re­sults.”

The re­sults have been pretty ex­cep­tional this sea­son, as Evans has been a key part of a Stam­ped­ers de­fence that al­lowed the fewest pass­ing touch­downs in the CFL while also al­low­ing the fewest to­tal points.

The fact that Evans was the only Stamps de­fen­sive back who re­ceived West Divi­sion all-star recog­ni­tion is dif­fi­cult to fathom, but there’s lit­tle ques­tion that Evans’ quiet lead­er­ship has been a big part of why.

This is not a player who seeks ex­tra at­ten­tion off the field or seems to talk much trash dur­ing games. It’s his play that does the talk­ing, and the fact that so many post-sea­son awards vot­ers have re­peat­edly taken note of his ta­lent speaks vol­umes about the qual­ity Evans brings to the field.

He just qui­etly goes about his job, and that alone has made him a leader in the Stam­ped­ers locker-room.

“He’s still Ciante, he’s still the same,” said Stamps DB coach Josh Bell. “He doesn’t speak much, but he speaks when he needs to speak.

“I would say he ac­tu­ally opens his mouth a lit­tle bit more now. He’s taken a step and a pro­gres­sion in what we need in the room.”

MIKE RIDEWOOD/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS/FILES

Ciante Evans fin­ished the sea­son with 29 de­fen­sive tack­les and two in­ter­cep­tions. .

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