Eskimos' D-men depart

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

Last week it was in with the new.

Yesterday it was out with the old.

To no one's great surprise the Edmonton Eskimos released free safety Quincy Coleman and corner Darrel Crutchfield.

With newcomers Kelly Wiltshire and Davis Sanchez pencilled to start this season, Coleman and Crutchfield were regarded as excess baggage.

Wiltshire, formerly of the Ottawa Renegades, and Sanchez, late of the Montreal Alouettes, are both non-imports which is a definite plus from a ratio standpoint.

"Obviously, there's an association here and they've been here a couple of years and were part of the Grey Cup team in 2003," said Esks' head coach Danny Maciocia, fresh from attending a free agent camp in El Paso, Texas, over the weekend.

"They're good football players but we're in the process of making a couple of changes back there. It's never fun to let people go but I'm sure they're going to find work along the way. We felt we needed to go in this direction."

Crutchfield, a three-year veteran, was hampered by a knee injury and saw action in 10 games for the Green and Gold. Despite the injury, the one-time Philadelphia Eagle registered 30 defensive tackles, a forced fumble, one pass knockdown and one tackle for a loss.

The 26-year-old corner says his agent asked the Esks to re-negotiate his contract after Sanchez signed a four-year deal worth roughly $840,000 - but the team declined.

ASKED FOR RELEASE

Crutchfield then asked for his release so he could pursue employment with the Arena Football League's Chicago Rush as well as work out for NFL squads in Jacksonville, Miami, Kansas City and San Francisco. Again, his request was ignored. Now he's a free agent.

"I still think I'm the best corner in the world," said the Clemson product, who recently sold his 2003 Grey Cup ring on eBay. "Until somebody proves me wrong, that's what my attitude is going to be."

Coleman, a veteran of three CFL seasons, was injured in a motorcycle accident shortly before training camp last year.

He rebounded from a severe case of road rash and appeared in 13 games, recording 28 defensive tackles, three interceptions, a fumble recovery and seven pass knockdowns.

IT KIND OF HURT

"It kind of hurt a little bit," the 29-year-old Coleman said. "I thought I was going to be able to come into camp and prove myself and be there. They say they want to go young, so I'll just have to go out and market myself and see if I can help somebody else out."

LATE HITS: Maciocia dismissed reports of a deal that would see A.J. Gass headed to Ottawa. "A.J. Gass is an Eskimo right now and those (trade talks) are just stories," Maciocia said ... Free agent defensive end Rahim Abduallah worked out for Jacksonville and Tampa Bay but has not signed with either. Despite talks with Hamilton, Winnipeg and Saskatchewan, he's leaning toward signing with Ottawa if his bid to return to the NFL fails. Abduallah says he's not had contract talks with the Esks.


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