October 27, 2007
Finale ruinedStorybook finish to Fleming's career marred by holding call
By JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA
All of those words describe the feeling amongst the Edmonton Eskimos after the head official Andre Proulx called a holding penalty on what would have been a perfect ending to Sean Fleming's career at Commonwealth Stadium.
Proulx called Mike Maurer for holding just a split-second before Fleming's kick split the uprights. If the field goal had counted, Edmonton would have had a 32-29 lead with two seconds remaining.
Instead, the Saskatchewan Roughriders beat the Esks 36-29 in overtime.
"I have seen that (holding) call once in my career," said Fleming, who will retire at the end of this season after 16 years with the Esks.
"I haven't seen the replay, but what I have heard there was no hold on it.
"I said to the ref after I found out: 'How can you call that? (It's) my last home game, how can you call a penalty like that?'
"There is holding all the time on field goals but to call it like that. "What a time to do it? "It baffles me.
"I am going to look at the replay and see what it says. If it is not a blatant hold where the guy takes him down, then (Proulx) should be embarrassed."
Maurer wasn't available for comment after the game.
But Fleming doesn't believe the alleged hold had any bearing on the play.
In response to Fleming's appeal for reasoning, Proulx didn't say much to the kicker.
"He kept saying: 'Sean, Sean, Sean,' " recalled Fleming.
The Esks final drive of regulation play seemed to have all the makings of being a Cinderella story. With 24 seconds left on the clock and the ball on the Edmonton 46-yard line, Fleming knew what had to happen.
"I told Danny ... to even have a legitimate chance, we got to get the ball to the 40-yard line," remembered Fleming. "We got there and that was as pure of a kick I have hit. I don't know if the stars were aligned or what.
"I hit it and looked up and I knew it was going to make it.
"To me it counted.
"I know my teammates believe the same thing. If that is my last kick as an Eskimo, I am proud. I made it when the game is on the line.
"That is what I am known for - making the big kicks.
"I am disappointed we couldn't get the win because of whatever that call was.
"Everything about that kick and the call on it, it had so many ramifications for me personally and the team.
"I am very disappointed it was called at this time."
FINISH LINES ...
DE Adam Braidwood is expected to have an MRI on an injured knee Monday.