Ex-Stampeder Tsoumpas signs on with Dolphins
Training camp fodder?
I do like how we shake all the bushes looking for "cheap" talent.
Calgary Herald wrote:
Ex-Stampeder Tsoumpas signs on with Dolphins
CALGARY — Offensive lineman Dimitri Tsoumpas didn’t get much time to rest after the Calgary Stampeders’ Canadian Football League season came to an end in November with a playoff loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
About a week after the season ended abruptly for the Stampeders, Tsoumpas started getting back into shape with an eye to impressing some National Football League teams.
He began with a workout with the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 22 and the next day with the New York Jets.
Tsoumpas was back home for Christmas and then the next weekend was back down south for workouts for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cincinnati Bengals.
“After the season, I had a window of opportunity going into my option year with the NFL. Obviously a few teams were interested in me and scouted me during the year. They invited me down for a workout.
Just an opportunity for the teams to see me in the flesh. Work me out. See what I could do down there in front of them,” said the 24-year-old Tsoumpas, a six-foot-four, 310-pound right guard who played two seasons with the Stamps.
“I think they were all interested for the most part but me and my agent felt like Miami was the best fit. We went through a bit of a negotiation and came to terms with an agreement we both like.”
Tsoumpas said there were a number of factors for choosing Miami from the coaching to the scheme of things they run. Also, reports indicate the Dolphins don’t have a clear-cut starter at right guard.
“There were a huge combination of things. A huge plus for me,” he said.
Tsoumpas was entering the option year of his contract with the Stamps. Should the Dolphins not retain his services for the 2010 NFL season, his playing rights would revert to the Stamps.
“Dimitri is a very good player and you never want to lose a player of his calibre. But he has worked very hard to earn this opportunity and we wish him the best,” said John Hufnagel, the Stamps’ head coach and general manager.
Tsoumpas started every game in the past two seasons for the Stamps and was a key in keeping defenders away from star quarterback Henry Burris as well as opening holes for running back Joffrey Reynolds who led the CFL in rushing.
Calgary selected Tsoumpas in the first round (second overall) of the 2008 CFL Canadian draft and signed him on May 1, 2008. The Edmonton native was chosen with a pick acquired in a draft-day trade with the Eskimos.
In his first season with the Stamps, he was selected as the team’s nominee for the league’s outstanding rookie.
Last season, Tsoumpas, a graduate of the Weber State program in the United States, was the team’s top Canadian and was named a Western Division all-star.
Tsoumpas, who resides in Calgary year-round, is the third CFLer the Dolphins have signed in recent days. The Florida team has also inked B.C. Lions’ wide receiver Ryan Grice-Mullen and fullback Rolly Lumbala.
This off-season will be quite different for Tsoumpas compared to what he did a year ago. He was a personal trainer in Calgary at the World Health Club.
“Right now my plans are to move down to Miami right away and get adjusted to the lifestyle down there. Get training with the team and try to fit as soon as I can,” he said, adding that mid-March is when the official off-season begins.
“You never know really what to expect. You could have interest. You could have no interest. I could tell you that I’m glad that I do get an opportunity to be down there with the Dolphins organization and get a shot. Just to go down there.
“I just have an open mind. I know that the club was fairly interested in me but you know I’m going to have to do what I can do come camp and from there on forth.”
He’s added a small Dolphins’ logo on his Facebook recently.
“Everybody’s asking me what’s going on so I figured I’d throw it on there so everyone gets the idea that I’ve signed somewhere,” said Tsoumpas.
“I’ve been very fortunate to come up here and play for a great organization. First-class. Top-notch all the way. I had a great time playing up here. We’re a great ball club. We won the Grey Cup my first year and to be part of that every step of the way was outstanding. I was absolutely thrilled to have my opportunity to play with the Stamps.”
Tsoumpas was the eighth CFL player to recently ink a deal south of the border including Montreal Alouettes kick returner Larry Taylor (New York Jets), Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive end John Chick (Indianapolis Colts), Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive back Jonathan Hefney (Detroit Lions) and receiver Dudley Guice (Indianapolis) and Toronto Argonauts defensive lineman Walter Curry (Jacksonville Jaguars).