Mallett expected to make Stampeders’ debut

Pine Bluff High and Arkansas-Pine Bluff alumnus Martell Mallett has not played a down in the Canadian Football League in five years.

That’s expected to change Friday night.

With concussions plaguing two key players in the Calgary Stampeders backfield, Mallett is expected to share time with Jock Sanders in a home game against the B.C. Lions. The Stampeders are looking to start the season 5-0.

“It’s unfortunate what happened to Jon (Cornish) and Matt (Walter), but that’s just part of the game,” Mallett told the Calgary Herald, mentioning the Stampeders’ top two ballcarriers who are now injured. “I’ve been on both sides of that. I see that as an opportunity to go out and showcase my skills and help this team win.”

Mallett, 28, was the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie of the Year in 2009 after rushing for 1,240 yards with the Lions.

He tried his hand at the NFL but failed to make a game-day roster with stops in Philadelphia (two stints), Cleveland and the New York Giants. He returned to Canada with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but reportedly tore his Achilles tendon during 2012 training camp and was released the following season.

He started this season on the CFL’s one-game injury list and has not yet played in a game with the Stampeders.

“I feel great,” Mallett told the Herald. “I think the coaches and players, if they didn’t think I was capable of going out, then I don’t think I’d be in this position right now. I’m ready to play.”

Mallett signed with Calgary in February.

— I.C. Murrell