Crandell visits Edmonton

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:50 AM ET

Marcus Crandell thought about making the drive up Highway 2 yesterday and popping by the Edmonton Eskimos offices. Fresh off a recruiting visit to Montreal, the 31-year-old quarterback wasn't about to attempt the three-hour trek with his pregnant wife in the vehicle.

"Our due date is Monday and it's snowing," explained the former Calgary starter, who is a free agent and no longer fits in the Stampeders plans.

WAIT AND SEE

"We'll probably just wait and see how everything goes. I told (Esks head coach Danny) Maciocia that we can plan on maybe going next week.

"He's got to go to Winnipeg (Monday) for the (CFL Winter Congress). I'd like to come up late in the week. Hopefully, our baby has come by then."

Regardless of whether Calgary lands free agent pivot Henry Burris, Crandell doesn't have a future in Cowtown.

The East Carolina product was informed by Calgary's brass prior to the start of CFL free agent period the club would not tender him a contract offer.

With Anthony Calvillo firmly entrenched as Montreal's starter, it's now clear Crandell is willing to accept a backup role.

"Pretty much everywhere, I'd be starting off as the No. 2 from what I understand," said Crandell, who also plans to visit Saskatchewan and Winnipeg. "I know a lot about Edmonton and Montreal."

"The thing I want to do is go to places that are interested and just get a feel for the people and the organization."

Bart Hendricks spent nearly three full seasons as the Esks' backup but saw little playing time behind Ricky Ray and Jason Maas.

Although Hendricks is a gifted runner, the Esks are looking to upgrade and feel Crandell would be a good fit.

FORMER ESK

Having donned a Green and Gold uniform for three seasons beginning in 1997, Crandell doesn't need to be sold on Edmonton or the Esks.

Given his wife hails from outside Regina, Saskatchewan, would be the best fit of all. But Crandell insists geography won't determine where he signs.

"Every team has advantages and disadvantages," Crandell said.

In the meantime, Maciocia will bide his time.

"It may take him a little longer to decide, especially with his wife giving birth to their first child next week," Maciocia observed.

LATE HITS: Ottawa Renegades head coach and GM Joe Paopao said his club just couldn't compete with Edmonton in its attempt to re-sign non-import linebacker/free safety Kelly Wiltshire.

"It's pretty tough when you have to keep one eye on the bottom line," Paopao sighed. Wiltshire's signing could be announced as early as tomorrow.

The Esks hunt for free agents with Montreal ties continues unabated. The deep-pocketed Esks are targeting free-agent cornerback Davis Sanchez who played with the Als last season.

BETTER THAN NOTHING: Meanwhile, Toronto running back John Avery signed a new deal with the Argos that will see him take a 50% pay cut.

Last April, Avery signed a four-year deal with Toronto reportedly worth $1 million. His new deal is for two years and an option and still makes Avery the CFL's highest-paid running back.


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