It's taken a couple of seasons but the Edmonton Eskimos finally got their man.
Tight end Deitan Dubuc put his NFL dream on hold and signed with the Green and Gold for two years plus an option yesterday.
After seemingly bouncing from one NFL practice roster to another, he was looking to play in NFL Europe this spring. There were no takers.
"(The NFL) think I'm a little old, going to NFL Europe at 28," said Dubuc, whose CFL rights were acquired from Calgary in exchange for Edmonton's first overall pick in the 2003 Canadian college draft.
"So, you just move on. I haven't played in a year and a half."
The Esks could utilize the six-foot-four, 250-pound Michigan grad as receiver or a fullback. Should he be able to hone his skills, Dubuc could also be used as a long-snapper.
RAHIM NOT RUSHING: Esks free agent defensive end Rahim Abdullah is prepared to listen to any and all offers from CFL clubs.
But the hulking end won't do so until after he's auditioned for the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The workouts are scheduled for early next month.
"I'm not in a rush to sign," said Abdullah, who developed a blood clot in the coronary artery following his June 2002 CFL debut and sat out the remainder of his rookie season. "Everything is open for me but my first priority is trying to get back in the NFL."
According to Abdullah, it's his roughly $430,000 per season minimum price tag that could be more of a deterrent to the Jags or Bucs than the blood clot.
"I haven't heard anything about (the heart)," he said. "Basically, my thing is my salary. I'd be a three-year guy."
Ottawa and Hamilton have already contacted the Clemson product. Were Abdullah to fail in his bid to sign with an NFL club, the Esks could have the inside track if he were looking for work in Canada.
"I love the game and I love Edmonton but it's all about whoever were to give me the better offer," Abdullah said. "Somebody matches the same offer, I'd definitely go to Edmonton."
LATE HITS: QB Bart Hendricks, WR/KR Winston October and WR Scott Robinson are among the Esks remaining free agents. OL Carlo Panaro along RB Troy Mills are both free agents but likely candidates for retirement ... Esks head coach Danny Maciocia and GM Paul Jones have been in contact with Ottawa linebacker/free safety Kelly Wiltshire.