September 24, 2007
Kicking around SeanEskimos have a little fun at Fleming's expense ... and ponder their future without the 16-year veteran
By JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media
MONTREAL -- Sean Fleming is already hearing the jokes.
After a perfect afternoon kicking field goals during yesterday's 16-10 Edmonton win against the Montreal Alouettes, Fleming was actually the butt of a joke in Danny Maciocia's media conference.
"I told him we are sending him to Vegas next week," said the Edmonton head coach.
"And he can just show up for the game Friday."
The jokes are flying because Fleming missed every Eskimo practice last week while on a course in the Ottawa area for his off-season job.
Coming off two less-than-stellar efforts - missing three field goals combined - before yesterday's game, Fleming's absence became a topic of serious conversation.
But any doubters were silenced when Fleming went four for four yesterday on field goals to be the offensive star of the game.
"There was a bit of pressure there," admitted Fleming on yesterday's game.
"The key for me was getting the first one off (a 44-yarder yesterday).
"That was a big one for confidence.
"That almost relaxed me.
"That set the tone for the day."
It is performances like that which has Maciocia musing about the future.
Many expect Fleming - a 16-year veteran - to retire at the end of the year, handing the kicking duties to rookie Warren Kean.
Being a clutch kicker in countless big games for the Esks - like yesterday - that would likely leave a definite hole on the roster in the short term.
"He will go down as an Eskimo great and a damn good football player," said Maciocia.
"I am just hoping this is not it.
"There is a lot of football left to be played.
"At the end of the season we will all sit down and will talk about it in detail.
"The way he is kicking he can do this for another four or five years if he chooses to."
Fleming hasn't set a retirement date. It is possible he could return next year.
But Maciocia isn't going to twist his kicker's arm in the off-season.
"I don't want to twist anybody's arm," continued Maciocia.
"What I want to do is sit down and talk about it, like rational adults should do.
"But there is another six weeks to go (in the regular season)."
NFL IN THE FUTURE?: ALTHOUGH THERE IS A REPORT OUT THAT AN NFL GAME POSSIBLY COMING TO EDMONTON NEXT YEAR, ESKIMO PRESIDENT RICK LELACHEUR HASN'T BEEN INFORMED BY THE NFL THAT THE GAME IS OFFICIALLY SET.
QUICK HITS: PROVING FOOTBALL'S POPULARITY IN QUEBEC, THE ALOUETTES ALLOWED A LITTLE TYKES FOOTBALL GAME ON THE FIELD AT MOLSON STADIUM AS PRE-GAME ENTERTAINMENT. ANOTHER GAME OCCURS DURING HALFTIME WITH FANS LOVING IT.
FINISH LINES: THE ESKIMOS SHOULD BE COMMENDED FOR DOING THE CLASSY THING WITH TONY TOMPKINS THIS PAST WEEK.
Not a negative word was said by the club when Tompkins left for Texas due to the death of his mother to cancer.
Maciocia could have suspended Tompkins to save his salary under the salary cap or put him on the disabled list to save 40% of his salary.
But Maciocia did the right thing by keeping him on the 46-man roster and paying his full salary.