Rookie Louis Fite has touched the ball twice in his professional career. But Sunday, he will be the Stallions' starting running back.
Trying to avoid an injury to Canadian Football League-leading rusher Mike Pringle in their regular-season finale, the Stallions yesterday named Fite as their starter.
Pringle, who has a 500-yard cushion over second-place Cory Philpot in the league rushing race with one game remaining, would not comment on the move. It has not been determined whether Pringle will see any playing time Sunday against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Although it is just one start, Fite said this opportunity could determine his professional career.
"I feel like they're saying Mike Pringle is a free agent next year and might not re-sign, so this is my chance," Fite said after receiving the news. "They might be looking for a guy who will be able to run the ball several times a game for an entire season. And I want to give them a pretty good look at me."
Fite started the past two seasons for Texas A&I.; He has been relegated to the practice squad for most of the year, returning two kickoffs for 42 yards against Birmingham on Sept. 9 in his only action for the Stallions.
"I'm excited, but my job is to keep the ball off the ground," Fite said. "I'm just going in and playing the way I'm supposed to. I'm going to keep both hands on the ball and don't try for extra yards without protecting the ball."
The Stallions are trying to protect Pringle from a recurrence of last season's final regular-season game when he suffered a severe groin injury. As a result, Pringle then had to miss the divisional semifinal game against Toronto, and failed to break 100 yards in the Eastern final and Grey Cup.
NOTES: Linebacker Ken Benson, who has been plagued with ankle injuries, said it felt stranger sitting all season than playing his first game in the next-to-last week of the season. "It felt good, because I've been waiting for this all season," said Benson, who made two tackles on special teams. "I'm just thankful to be out there. I'm a player and want to play. It was very uncomfortable before because I'm not used to being injured." Benson led the CFL in combined tackles with 98 in 1993 with the Toronto Argonauts. . . . Reggie Perry, a second-year slotback, ran the perimeter of the field yesterday during the team's light workout. He had surgery on his knee two weeks ago.