BRITISH COLUMBIA

New B.C. Lions guard looking forward to playing against former Calgary club

08/12/2013 07:52 EDT | Updated 10/12/2013 05:12 EDT
SURREY, B.C. - Steve Myddelton does not bleed Calgary Stampeders red anymore.

After four-plus seasons with the Stamps, it took only one trip across the Rocky Mountains for the offensive lineman to gain a whole new perspective on his CFL career.

"My outlook is very different from what it has been for the last five years — I'll tell you that much," said Myddelton after his first workout Monday with the B.C. Lions after the club returned to practice after a bye week.

The Lions acquired Myddelton, a 27-year-old Barrie, Ont., native who is in the fifth year of a CFL career spent entirely with the Stampeders, for a conditional 2014 draft choice. Myddelton's first game with his new team will could come at home Saturday, against his old team.

B.C. traded for the guard last week in a bid to acquire depth after promising rookie Kirby Fabien was lost for the season with a knee injury that required reconstructive surgery.

Myddelton was one of two new faces in the B.C. fold Monday. The Lions also added defensive back Cameron Chism, a former Indianapolis Colt, to their practice roster. While Chism will likely have to wait a while for his turn, Myddelton is expected to draw into the lineup right away, although coach Mike Benevides was not offering confirmation.

"I'm really excited to be here," said Myddelton. "I can't wait to play against Calgary. "They're playing really good football right now. The Lions are obviously one of the premier teams in the league year in and year out. It's always an exciting matchup, and I'm excited to be on the other side of the ball for it."

But Myddelton, a St. Francis Xavier University alumnus who was drafted by Calgary in the fourth round (30th overall) in 2009, holds no ill feelings against his former club after Stampeders general manager and coach John Hufnagel decided to move him to a West Division rival.

"They're a classy organization," said Myddelton. "He's a classy guy."

Now, Myddelton finds himself in the position of providing injury insurance after he battled injuries of his own. He lost his starting job with the Stamps after missing most of last season with a knee injury that required surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

"I hurt myself two years ago but only missed four games towards the end of the season," he said. "I came back last year and was starting again, and then I blew my ACL out in practice and missed the remainder of the season, and this year there wasn't really a spot for me."

Myddelton's ordeal was compounded by the fact he is in the last year of his contract and slated to become a free agent at the end of this season.

"I think all these things came into play," he said. "So it was hard the first few games of the season, realizing where I sat and what was happening. So it was nice to have something finalized and know that I have a home here for the rest of the season."

He is grateful for an opportunity to help a Lions offensive line that is also grappling with centre Angus Reid's back injury, which has placed him on the nine-game injured reserve list. Veteran guard Dean Valli, who has helped the Lions get through Fabien's injury by starting in his place, is playing on a rebuilt knee.

"I have sympathy, really, for the guys who've gone down," said Myddelton. "It's a hard thing to deal with. But I also know that they can come back from it, because here I am less than a year later. It's not the end of anything. Also, it provided me with the opportunity to be here in the first place. So I'm taking that (opportunity) for what it is and trying to do my best while I'm here."

Benevides is glad to have more depth on the offensive line as his club prepares to face the Stamps, whom he rates as the team to beat in the West after their win over the previously unbeaten Saskatchewan Roughriders last weekend. Although offensive linemen often toil anonymously, the Lions coach is already quite familiar with Myddelton and likes what he has seen.

"I know (Myddelton) from prepping against him, and I know this: He's an extremely intelligent player," said Benevides. "He's a tough guy, he's a guy that's played and had some starts. Right now, he's a very good lineman, who has experience, who's been in the league now five years, that can step in. And, right now, if he stepped in right away, he'd have an understanding."

Chism, a 23-year-old Washington, D.C., native, who spent part of 2012 with Indianapolis before being released, was also brought in for depth purposes. He signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent after starting 32 of his 44 games at Maryland, where he returned two interceptions for touchdowns.

But he was released in September and did not receive another NFL opportunity this year.

"He's a guy that's been on the radar a little bit," said Benevides.

Notes_The Lions knew of Chism from his days at Maryland and the fact he attended the same Forestville, Md., high school as B.C. defensive backs coach Mark Washington. … Lions slotback Nick Moore is expected to return to the lineup after missing the win over Winnipeg with an ankle injury. … B.C. defensive end Julius Williams has a chance to play after missing most of the season with a knee injury.