That ringing sound

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:54 AM ET

Nobody signed on the dotted line yesterday.

Barring a flurry of activity today, all of the Edmonton Eskimos who played out their options in 2004 will become free agents when the clock strikes midnight Eastern time tonight.

"Obviously, we'd like to sign the free agents that we have here," said head coach Danny Maciocia.

"We have been in contact and there have been conversations. If we've made it this far, chances are it'll take us into free agency."

Return specialist/receiver Winston October dipped his toe into the free-agent pool two years ago, but eventually re-upped with the Esks.

October is looking for a big payday this time around. If that doesn't happen, the 28-year-old is prepared to work toward his master's degree in communications and pursue a career in the media.

"I might not be in the CFL this year, I just might not play at all," October said in a telephone interview from Brooklyn, New York.

"I might go ahead and start another career, I'm getting to the point where you have to start looking after the second part of your career.

"I'm at a point where I feel like Edmonton has helped me a lot as far as me learning to be a better player and adding to my skills as a receiver. I just want the opportunity to play a little bit more at receiver."

HAS TIED THE KNOT

Now that October has tied the knot and calls the Big Apple home, the five-foot-eight, 165-pound returner might also be less inclined to entertain offers from teams in the CFL Western Division.

"We'll see what happens," he said.

"I may want to stay closer to the East Coast. Then again, I don't know what might happen.

"I've only been a free agent twice and I've really not explored the full opportunity of being a free agent and seeing what's out there.

"I think if anything, that's probably what I'll do. I'll see what's out there in all aspects - the NFL, the Arena League, CFL and trying to use my degree."

WAITING TO HEAR

Quarterback Bart Hendricks is waiting to hear from Maciocia. Were the Esks to pursue well-travelled Calgary pivot Marcus Crandell, attempts to re-sign Hendricks could be shelved.

"We're talking a little bit but I need to talk to Coach Maciocia," said Hendricks, who signed in July of '02. "I'm just waiting for him to return the call."

Receiver Ed Hervey is likely to be courted by Calgary, Winnipeg and Ottawa but doesn't want to discuss his current situation.

Offensive lineman Carlo Panaro, non-import receiver Scott Robinson and defensive end Rahim Abdullah are also eligible for free agency. None of the trio were available for comment yesterday.


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