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Stamps' first-rounder Labrosse ready to play with chip on shoulder


The Calgary Stampeders’ first-round pick at the CFL Draft is out to prove people wrong. 

The team took Ben Labrosse, a defensive back out of McGill, with the fourth overall pick on Tuesday; a reach given he hasn’t played organized football in over a year. According to 3DownNation, Labrosse will be going to New York Giants minicamp in the coming weeks before possibly starting his career in Calgary. 

He played with the Syracuse Orange in 2020 but left the program a year later because of a lack of playing time. Labrosse returned home to Montreal to compete for the Redbirds and earned All-Canadian honours in 2022, but was academically ineligible to play in 2023.

“I definitely do have a chip on my shoulder,” Labrosse said, adding that he had a feeling the Stamps would choose him.

“A lot of the talk was that I’m not committed. I’m not a serious football player, but I’m gonna prove that I am committed and that I am a serious football player. I’m gonna let the coaches know that they’re not gonna regret this pick at all…I’m ready to ball out.”

During his All-Canadian campaign in 2022, Labrosse had 29 solo tackles, three interceptions, one touchdown, and also spent time as a returner. 

“I’m an electric football player,” he said.

“I can turn nothing into something. It’s not good enough to get the pick. I want to get the pick and I want to get the pick-six…someone that can change the game and make a big difference.”

The Stamps were not deterred by Labrosse’s lack of reps over the past year.

“I just think he’s different than everyone else in this draft,” general manager and head coach Dave Dickenson said, praising Labrosse’s athleticism. 

Dickenson made another splash a few minutes after drafting Labrosse. 

He traded up in the first round to take offensive lineman Christy Nkanu out of Washington State with the eighth overall pick. Dickenson gave up two second-round picks to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the deal to draft the Montreal native while getting back a third-round pick.

“We have holes in our offensive line and we’re going to shore it up in the next few days looking for more guys, whether that’s in free agency [where] we’re still looking at guys or other draft picks,” Dickenson said after the trade. The Stamps lost starting guard Ryan Sceviour to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in free agency and see Nkanu as a possible long-term replacement. 

CFL rookie camps begin May 8, with training camps opening May 12.