CALGARY - The Calgary Stampeders are sticking with rookie Rene Paredes for Saturday's game against the B.C. Lions even though incumbent Rob Maver is ready to kick again.
Maver, the CFL's scoring leader last year with 185 points, comes off the nine-game injured list this week. The native of Brampton, Ont., tore his quadricep in Calgary's season opener July 1 versus Toronto
The Stampeders then quickly signed Paredes, a Concordia product, to handle field goals and converts. The 26-year-old has done so well that Stampeders head coach/GM John Hufnagel isn't willing to switch kickers now.
"I have two kickers. They'll both be kicking in practice and Rene is the kicker for the near future," Hufnagel said Tuesday following practice.
"Rene has done an excellent job and I talked with both individuals this morning about why I made my decision. They have a total understanding of the reasons."
Maver, who has been kicking with authority and power in practice recently, may understand the reasons but isn't happy about them.
"It's frustrating for me personally because I obviously want to be out there competing, but at the same time, he's kicked well and helped us win games," the former Guelph Gryphon said. "If it's not broke don't fix it. I understand the decision."
Maver is a dual-purpose kicker in that he can also punt in the event Burke Dales was injured.
But Paredes has been a key contributor for Calgary (7-3), which tops the West Division standings. He made five-of-six field goals he tried in Friday's 30-20 victory in Edmonton.
In his CFL debut July 8, one of his two field goals versus B.C. was from 50 yards to help him earn the league's weekly special team's award.
He then struggled, going 3-for-6 over his next two outings. After consulting with a sports psychologist, Paredes went 4-for-5 versus the Roughriders in Week 5 and has been more reliable since then. Overall, Paredes has made 21-of-27 field goals for a 77.8 success ratio compared to the 78.8 per cent Maver posted as a rookie in 2010.
"I thought I was going to come here and replace him for nine games, but I came to prove myself not only to Calgary but to the league," Paredes said. "I think I've shown it and hopefully I have a future here in Calgary."
Paredes was born in Venezuela, but grew up in Pierrefonds, Que. He was prepared to return to Concordia for a fifth season with the Stingers if he didn't make it in the CFL.
"It's really tough to get a job," he said. "After having this good season and hopefully finishing strong, hopefully it will lead to something in the future, here or somewhere else."
Maver returns to Calgary's 46-man active roster but the 25-year-old wouldn't speculate on his future with the team.
"One day at a time," he said. "I'm not going to play the 'What if? game.
"One thing I do know when I'm healthy is I can perform at a very high level in this league doing both duties."
Paredes continues to consult with Dr. Frank Lodato prior to every game. He either speaks with him prior to leaving for the stadium or from the locker room.
With Lodato's help, Paredes says he's incorporated breathing and focusing techniques into his game preparation.
Paredes says he feels under no more pressure lining up a for a field goal now that Maver has been activated from the injured list.
"It's the same pressure," he said. "I'm going to try and do the same things I've been doing for the last nine weeks."
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier story incorrectly said Calgary was in the East Division.