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Paredes returning to Stamps for 12th season

Rene Paredes Calgary Stampeders Rene Paredes - The Canadian Press

In 2016, the Calgary Stampeders went on a team-building trip to a local fire station that left kicker Rene Paredes impressed and intrigued with the line of work. 

Six years later, the 37-year-old Paredes has been accepted into the Calgary Fire Department and will work as a firefighter upon completion of his training in the new year. He will also return to the Stampeders for a 12th CFL season after saying earlier in November that he was 50-50 on if he would come back.

“We did a bunch of stuff with the fire department,” Paredes said, of that initial visit. The team completed some training exercises firefighters have to go through, as well as a relay race. “I found it very interesting, and I did more research and applied, and it’s working out.”

Paredes also got advice from former Stampeder long-snapper Randy Chevrier and current BC Lions kicker Sean Whyte, both of whom work for fire departments.

During the season, Paredes will work two 24-hour on-call shifts a week with the fire department in addition to his kicking duties. Those shifts rotate, so every week will look a little bit different.

“Me, Dave [Dickenson, the Stampeders head coach] and Mark Killam [Calgary’s special teams coordinator] have a plan for when my schedule comes out,” Paredes said.

Dickenson was the one who had the idea that Paredes do his firefighter training in the off-season, so that it would not affect his ability to be part of the team. 

“We’ll make the best for everybody, so it works out properly and there’s no hiccups or anything,” Paredes said.

For the organization, Paredes’ return is great news. He led the league in scoring this season and moved into the top-10 in scoring in CFL history. He also led the league in field goals from more than 50 yards. 

At their year-end media conference, Dickenson and general manager John Hufnagel made no secret that they would try to convince the kicker to come back for another season. 

“He is one of the greatest kickers in Canadian Football League history and his consistency and reliability since the beginning of his career have played an important role in our team’s success,” said Hufnagel, on Paredes re-signing.

The Stampeders are certain to look different next season. Veteran quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell has been dealt to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, with Jake Maier now running the offence. Respected veterans Derek Dennis, Shawn Lemon, Kamar Jorden, Zack Williams, Jameer Thurman, and Cam Judge are pending free agents and may not be back.

Parades returning provides some level of stability for an organization that is one of the most consistent in the CFL.

He said his goal for next season is simple.

“There’s a lot of things I want to get to in my career, but the main one is to win another Grey Cup,” Parades said.

He also assured fans that he will not have a problem managing his busy schedule.

“A lot of people think it’s going to be a distraction, but I don’t think it will,” Paredes said. “It’s going to be busy…I’ll be juggling football, work, and family. Luckily, I have a good wife that supports me and does a lot for our family.”