Moving is but a part of CFL game book Stallions say nothing will divert Cup bid

November 08, 1995|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Gerald Alphin has been forced to hit the road before. As an eight-year veteran of the Canadian Football League, Alphin has changed teams three times. When the Baltimore Stallions filled a need at slotback by signing him nearly two months ago, Alphin figured he had found the place where he could finish his career.

Not anymore. As Alphin and the rest of the Stallions prepare for Sunday's Southern Division championship game against the San Antonio Texans -- with the winner advancing to the Nov. 19 Grey Cup -- they are facing the realization that, with the impending move of the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore, this looks like their last game at Memorial Stadium.

The Stallions are singing a consistent tune. After two years of developing a loyal following in Baltimore, they would hate to leave town. They are tired of hearing about the Browns. They are resolved to prevent any distractions from upsetting their Grey Cup title run.

Besides, they say, business is business.

"It's a sad day for the CFL. The timing stinks. But hey, you've got to be flexible. I've been in situations before," said Alphin, 31.

"I was in Montreal [his rookie CFL season] in 1987 when we folded. Before we played our opening game, we were dressed, ready to get on the bus and head to the airport, and there was an emergency meeting. They gave us two game checks and said, 'Have a nice life.' Now I've got something else to put on my resume. I don't know what tomorrow brings. I just come out and play."

Second-year defensive end Grant Carter said he has been so caught up in the pursuit of a championship that he hardly has paused to think about being forced out of Baltimore.

"Being a business major and a future businessman, there's a lot of things we can't control in this whole deal," said Carter, 24. "Either I'm naive or I don't want to deal with it, so I don't worry about it. Maybe that's one advantage to being young. I'm just enjoying the ride. I want to win the Grey Cup, get a ring, and they can tell me where to show up next year."

Veteran slotback Chris Armstrong, who played in Edmonton and Ottawa before coming to Baltimore, said he has steered clear of television and newspaper reports regarding the National Football League's return to Baltimore.

"As players, you have to move. That's how your job goes. It's something we can't control," Armstrong said. "When you find a city you're comfortable with, you like that. I'd like to be here. But if worst comes to worst and we're not here, let's go out as champions."

The news of the Stallions' possible move hits rookie quarterback Dan Crowley close to home.

After setting numerous passing records at Towson State University, Crowley made the Stallions as a backup. He has enjoyed seeing his old college coach, Gordy Combs, on the sidelines at occasional home games, not to mention the support he has heard from friends in the stands. He envisioned another training camp at Towson State next year, and a few more years of playing in the CFL in Baltimore.

"I thought I could have a long career in my hometown. Not with the Browns coming," Crowley said. "It just shows how much of a business this is.

NOTES: Baltimore coach Don Matthews said the Stallions are healthy and he expects to make no roster changes for Sunday's game. . . . The Stallions will hold a fan appreciation party tomorrow from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the World Trade Center. For information, call (410) 837-4515.

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