Saturday, January 23, 2010

Big D workout huge kick for DeAngelis


Sandro DeAngelis is seeing stars.

And dreaming of sporting one on his helmet next season.

The Calgary Stampeders kicker had a free-agent tryout Friday with the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, stoking his desire to boot field goals on football's biggest stage.

"I think all athletes are daydreamers," DeAngelis said.

"We all sit there and we daydream about winning that championship game or signing that big contract, and I think that's one of the things that motivates athletes is the ability to have that kind of wild imagination.

"Of course, you look at the city and daydream about what it would be like to play there and stuff like that, so, of course your mind wanders a little bit. But at the same time, once you do your best, it's out of your control."

DeAngelis, a five-time West Division all-star and the most accurate kicker in CFL history, worked out at the Cowboys practice facility in Irving, Texas, under the watchful eyes of head coach Wade Phillips, special-teams coach Joe DeCamillis, billionaire owner Jerry Jones and others.

The 28-year-old becomes a CFL free agent next month, although he'd rather be booting field goals south of the border in the fall.

DeAngelis also canvassed for an NFL tryout last off-season but didn't earn any auditions.

"Just to even have an opportunity to kick for an NFL team is living a dream," DeAngelis said.

"I just want to give it my best shot. If I make it to the NFL, great. If I don't, hey that's great too because I'm very happy in the CFL. The thing that I don't want to happen is to have regrets later on in life. Especially now that I'm a dad, how am I going to tell my kid to go chase his dreams if I don't go chase my own?

"As great as it is being in the CFL, as a competitor, you always want to do more. The competitor in me is trying to do more in this case, and I'm just really happy that I had the opportunity."

The Cowboys, who were eliminated from the playoffs last weekend by the Minnesota Vikings, are seeking some stability at the kicking position after Nick Folk and his successor Shaun Suisham made only 64.5% of their field-goal attempts in the regular season.

DeAngelis, who hails from Niagara Falls, Ont., and makes his home in Calgary, nailed 42-of-49 three-point tries in 2009 and boasts an 83.8% accuracy rating in five campaigns with the Stamps.

His agent has had conversations with other NFL squads and DeAngelis is optimistic Friday's tryout won't be his last.

He was satisfied with his performance in the Big D, and expects to hear back from the Cowboys next week.

"I'm pleased with it, but you really have no idea what they're thinking. They don't exactly jump up and down or anything so you don't have a gauge of where you stand," DeAngelis said. "I'll keep my fingers crossed."