The Calgary Stampeders players would never trade their careers for 9-to-5 desk jobs.

But during the next two weeks of CFL training camp, infamous for its gruelling two-a-day workouts with a coaching staff hanging over them evaluating their every move, some could be forgiven for second-guessing their chosen professions.

“It’s just something you’ve got to do,” shrugs 12-year CFL veteran Rob Lazeo, mopping the sweat off his forehead after yesterday’s first session of training camp at McMahon Stadium.

Lazeo, 36, is one of the greybeards along the offensive line who continue learning how to deal with the strain of training camp.

“The older you get, you kind of know what to expect, but that doesn’t make it any easier. When you know what you’re in for, you can prepare yourself mentally for it, but your body’s going to be sore no matter what. You need to get your mind right.

“Sometimes young guys come in and don’t know what the tempo’s going to be like, so they look to guys like Jeff (10-year veteran Pilon) and myself to see how hard we’re going and have to match that.”

Returning to camp are all 12 offensive starters from the Stampeders’ Grey Cup victory over the Montreal Alouettes in 2008. Calgary also retained eight of its 12 defensive starters from the championship game and both kickers. The camp lineup includes 38 of the 46 players on the Grey Cup roster making Calgary an early favourite to return to the big game Nov. 29 at McMahon Stadium.

Workouts continue this week from 9-11 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. with only a morning session slated for June 10.

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