Kicker Paredes turns 39, gives Stamps all-star scoring insurance — again

Veteran puts shoulder surgery behind in effort to help Calgary’s CFL team rediscover its winning ways

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Like a fine wine, Rene Paredes gets better with age, it seems.

Just don’t consider the Calgary Stampeders’ all-star kicker a four-decade vintage just yet.

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“Yeah … I gave him a hard time about his birthday the other day,” said Stampeders GM/head coach Dave Dickenson of the venerable Paredes. “I told the team, ‘We’ve got to celebrate Rene’s 40th birthday.’

“And he was very quick to tell me he’s not 40.”

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Not yet.

At least not for another 363 days, after turning 39 — not 40 — on Wednesday.

And who knows if he’ll be with the Stampeders or even still kicking when he reaches that milestone age?

Certainly, Paredes doesn’t know himself.

“I take it one year at a time — that’s why I sign one-year contracts,” said the kicker from Caracas, Venezuela, during Stamps’ main camp on now at McMahon Stadium. “Right now, I’m just focused on training camp and getting my rhythm and getting ready for the season. And then who knows what happens, right? I’ll make the decision (on whether to return or retire) later on towards the end of the year.”

Whatever his future holds, the old man of the Stamps continues to perform like a young baller.

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In 2023, Paredes was again the lifeblood of the Red and White offence, hitting 52-of-60 field-goals for a sparkling 86.7% accuracy to go along with 29-of-30 convert kicking.

Nobody in the CFL hit more three-pointers than Paredes, and he reached 185 points on the campaign.

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He also hit 200 regular-season games played and 2,000 career points during the year.

It marked another stellar season in his amazing career that started with him getting his foot in the door with the Stamps way back in 2011.

“I would’ve told you you’re crazy,” said Paredes, when asked if himself as a 26-year-old rookie would’ve thought he’d be a CFL kicker at age 39. “I was supposed to be here for a couple of weeks to replace Rob Maver, right?

“So I took the chance back in the day to get the opportunity and it worked out. So 13 years later, I’m still here. I’m trying to make the best of it, trying to have fun and trying to win another Grey Cup.”

His only obstacle in continuing his successful ways might be a sore shoulder.

That’s recovering from surgery — a new twist for Paredes during this illustrious career — that he underwent in the off-season.

“First time I have a surgery — major surgery,” Paredes said. “So … yeah … it was tough. You know, shoulders are a tough one. It takes a bit longer to recover. But it’s going great right now, so hopefully I’m ready to go for Week 1.

“I just need to trust in myself and mainly stay healthy — stay in shape,” continued the five-time CFL all-star. “This off-season was rough with the injury, but we’re getting there. So I’ve got to use this camp to get my rhythm back and to get better at my kicking.”

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Rene Paredes
Calgary Stampeders kicker Rene Paredes attempts a field goal against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at McMahon Stadium in Calgary on Aug. 18, 2023. Photo by Gavin Young /Postmedia

Campbell Fair, a 2023 CFL draftee by the Stamps, is in camp at the kicker position, as well.

But it seems unlikely the 24-year-old talent from the U SPORTS’ Ottawa Gee-Gees would dethrone Paredes any time soon.

And the only other strictly special-teamers in camp are punter Cody Grace and long-snapper Aaron Crawford.

“Right now, I still love being out here with the guys competing,” Paredes said. “You gotta come out here and have fun and enjoy the guys. If you’re not having fun, there’s no point in being out here.”

But the former standout for the U SPORTS’ Concordia Stingers also knows he needs to continue to do his job to help the team rediscover its winning touch.

“I set the same goals every year — it’s just one kick at a time,” Paredes said. “Make my field-goal and go from there. Obviously, I would like to have a great season and win a Grey Cup. But at the end of the day, it’s one day at a time, one kick at a time and take it from there.”

“He’s done well, you know,” added Dickenson, of his nearly 40-year-old kicker. “(The shoulder surgery is) some adversity and some things to go through for him.

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“I do feel like he’s always been clutch for us, but (age) 39, 29, 19 … it really don’t matter to me. Come out and work, and you’ve got to perform on a daily basis — we’re trying to preach consistency.

“And that’s what Rene’s all about.”

SHORT YARDAGE

Fans are invited Saturday to join the Stampeders for Fanfest at McMahon Stadium. Fanfest is a free event and gives fans an opportunity to meet Stampeders players, hear from Dickenson, pose for a photo with the Grey Cup trophy and enjoy plenty of family activities. Players will be signing autographs at designated locations from noon to 1:30 p.m. There will be a barbecue on the Telus Patio and the Stamps Store will have merchandise available for purchase. Attendees will also be able to get signatures from Stampeders alumni and meet touchdown-horse Quick Six, mascot Ralph the Dog and his pals Harvey the Hound, Farley the Fox, Howie the Honeybadger and Blasty the Bronco. “We’re very excited about the return of Fanfest and to catching up with all of our fans and looking forward to the season ahead,” said Stampeders president Jay McNeil. The Outriders and the Stampeders Hype Team will be on hand, and activities include giant inflatables, face painting, football drills with the Calgary Colts and Calgary Rage, a shooter tutor with members of the Calgary Hitmen and a vast display of Stampeders memorabilia. “This is a great springboard to other great events including the Red and White game on Sunday and the home pre-season game against BC on May 25th.” … The Red and White game is slated for Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at McMahon … The first live CFL action for the Stampeders is a pre-season host of the BC Lions on Saturday, May 25, at McMahon (2 p.m.).

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