STAMPS IN EDMONTON
Grey Cup coverage
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.”
Ciante Evans finished the season with 29 defensive tackles and two interceptions. .