Esks coach confirms he's in talks with Lueders

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:29 AM ET

When Pierre Lueders heard the report, he laughed. "It is April Fool's day, right?''

"When I heard it, I said 'What's this, a joke?' ''

The Edmonton Eskimos are trying to sign the brakeman of Edmonton's famed bobsleigh pilot to go to training camp heading into an Olympic year.

"It's no joke,'' says Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia.

"I'm serious about it. I know the kid. When he was playing football in Montreal he was one of the most exciting and dominating players out there.

"He turned to bobsled and what he's done in bobsled speaks for itself. I know he's suspended and I know he's available. I know he'd be taking a chance. I think it's something he wants to do. I know he'll address it with Bobsleigh Canada. Then we'll have a better idea of his position.''

Maciocia says he decided to go after Giulio Zardo because he'd heard whispers that he was looking at returning to football. "I got a whiff of it. I was in Montreal, so I sat down with him. I talked to him. It's anything but a joke.''

NOTHING SURPRISES ME

Informed of those quotes, Lueders attempted to contact Zardo yesterday without success.

"Nothing surprises me in this world anymore,'' said Lueders. "I don't know this football coach. I don't know football. All the time we've been together, I never talked to Giulio much about football.''

Zardo played junior football for the St. Leonard Cougars and for Team Canada at the Global Junior at the Super Bowl in Atlanta in 2000.

Lueders, who won the two-man Olympic gold medal at Nagano in 1998 with Dave MacEachern as his brakeman, won the world championship two years ago in Konigssee, Germany and last year's World Cup championship with Zardo pushing.

PERMANENT POSITION

With Zardo suspended for allegedly punching his coach, Lueders won the two-man world championships and finished third in the four-man at this year's world championships in Calgary with Lascelles Brown in his sleds. Had the graduate of the Cool Runnings Jamaican Bobsled Team won himself a permanent position as Lueders' pusher?

The Edmonton pilot would love to have both on board for the Olympic year.

"I think it's a little early for me to say anything about it. He hasn't signed or anything.

"I don't know what he's doing. It was news to me when I heard about it.

"I was in a Bobsleigh Canada meeting. Nobody there had heard anything about it, either.''

Brown has yet to obtain citizenship to become eligible to compete for Canada at the Olympics. Zardo has yet to come off suspension.

Lueders thinks Brown will soon become eligible and Zardo's suspension is soon to be lifted.

"I'd say 'Yes and yes'. That's where both of those things are at. I couldn't tell you exactly. But both those situations are moving forward.''


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