Goodbye Mike?

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

If yesterday's 14-6 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders was Mike Pringle's swan song with the Edmonton Eskimos, it was a frustrating and frosty serenade, indeed.

On a day when field conditions at Commonwealth Stadium seemed to dictate Pringle lug the pigskin at every opportunity, that, obviously, wasn't the game plan.

Pringle, 36, the CFL's all-time leading rusher, carried the ball just eight times for 35 yards as quarterback Jason Maas and his offence took their chances through the air.

If Pringle's on his way out, it's with a whimper.

"We didn't establish the running game," understated Pringle. "I don't think we ran the ball two times in a row the entire game, so we weren't trying to establish the running game."

'BEYOND ME"

Pringle was expected to block instead of run as Maas put the ball in the air 47 times.

"We were picking up all their blitzes and doing what we needed to do with the passing game," Pringle said. "Why we didn't try to establish the running game is beyond me.

"The score was never out of reach, so I don't know. I mean, it was snowing. We run the plays that come in from the sidelines."

Offensive co-ordinator Danny Maciocia calls the plays for Maas, although his pivot has the option to change things up if he sees fit.

Pringle got the ball five times in the first half, chugging for 22 yards, and just three times after halftime.

"It's not like our passing game wasn't working," offered Maas, who had 33 completions for 351 yards.

"Our short game and our intermediate stuff was working very well. We still gave Mike touches. We haven't been a team that's given him 30 touches all year."

With a running game that ranked eighth in the CFL in overall yards rushing, the pass has been Edmonton's bread and butter this season. Snow flurries and swirling winds didn't change it.

"Everything plays a role in how everything shakes down," said head coach Tom Higgins, when asked about how seldom Pringle was utilized. "We tried to open things up. We couldn't.

"We didn't move them. It was tough to have a change in direction. When we're playing our best football, it's when we are throwing and when we're passing the ball."

OBVIOUS DISAPPOINTMENT

Pringle, the CFL's all-time leading rusher, wasn't about to talk about his future, or lack of same, with the Esks in the wake of the loss. His disappointment, however, was obvious in a subdued dressing room.

"I don't know. That's the furthest thing from my mind right now," said Pringle. "This season, we had some highs and we had some lows.

"There was not a lot of consistency to our season, but (that) was behind us. We felt we had a chance to get our goal of getting back to the Grey Cup.

"Even though the regular season didn't go the way we wanted it to, we played well enough to put (ourselves) in this situation.

"Today, we fell short."


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