Pringle is undecided

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

The Rug Doctor isn't the only one steaming mad at dirt.

Rookie Edmonton Eskimos' head coach Danny Maciocia is steamed at the dirt dished up by Reseau De Sports' Internet website following his appearance on the network's coverage of the Baltimore-New England NFL playoff tilt.

Yesterday Maciocia rebutted any notion running back Mike Pringle's days with the Esks are over or that he intends to go with rookie Ron McLendon at the tailback position this season.

A report trumpeting Pringle's ouster and McLendon's elevation to starter status - attributed to Maciocia - was posted on the French-language network's website, RDS.ca, late Sunday. An English translation of the report appeared later at TSN's website.

"I was on the show live and I want to hear where it quotes me saying that," fumed Maciocia from the departure lounge of Montreal's Pierre Elliot Trudeau International airport early yesterday morning.

"I never uttered those words. If I had, they would have played the clip. They don't have a clip of me saying that. I can guarantee you what is being said is so inaccurate."

Maciocia was slotted in for the final 10 minutes of the network's 20-minute half time show during the telecast. Following a discussion of Canada's entry at the upcoming NFL Global Junior Championship, the conversation turned to the Esks and Pringle's future with the club.

'MIKE WILL LET US KNOW'

"I've been in western Canada for three years and I'm losing some of my French but I still think I can speak it fairly well to be understood," related Maciocia, who speaks English, French and Italian fluently.

"All I said was Mike will let us know and we'll go about it accordingly. I said we are in a position if Mike decides to retire that we've got McLendon and we've got (Reggie) White.

"Even if that was the case, why would I allocate one guy (McLendon or White as Pringle's replacement)?"

Jean-Marc Lemay, the man charged with producing the network's football coverage, backs Maciocia's rebuttal but remains at a loss to explain how the erroneous report ended up on the RDS.ca website.

NOT THE SAME

"I don't know who else he talked to but I can tell you what he said on air and what appeared on the website is not the same, that much I know," Lemay said.

Pringle, the CFL's all-time rushing leader, played out his option with the Green and Gold last season and is eligible for free agency Feb. 15.

In an interview with the Sun late last week, Maciocia stressed no decision would be made regarding Pringle without first talking to the future Hall of Famer.

Although Maciocia and Pringle chatted subsequent to that interview, Pringle has not yet committed to retirement or returning to the gridiron.

"Mike is still undecided and Mike is going to let us know within the next few weeks," the head coach said.

LATE HITS: Defensive lineman Jabari Issa joins receiver Brock Ralph on the list of Edmonton players who have signed with NFL clubs. Issa inked a free-agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs ... Look for R.D. Lancaster, who began his coaching career with the Esks, to be trotted out as Maciocia's new offensive co-ordinator later this week ... The CFL Board of Governors is huddling at Montreal owner Robert Wetenall's compound in West Palm Beach, Florida, starting today. Esks' COO Rick LeLacheur is among those attending ... Ballots for the CFL coach of the year went out to members of the Football Reporters of Canada yesterday. The COTY winner will be announced during the league's Winter Congress, which is slated for Winnipeg next month.


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