Vaughn shopped to Popp?

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:00 PM ET

Don't put Terry Vaughn in a Montreal Alouettes uniform just yet. Talk is cheap and it's going to take more than a couple of draft picks to pry the veteran slotback from the Edmonton Eskimos' clutches.

The Alouettes are one of a handful of teams Vaughn is being shopped to at this point.

"It's not like we're ready to get a deal done," said Montreal vice-president and general manager Jim Popp yesterday. "I don't feel that way and there's no reason to believe anything is getting done because there hasn't been any other talks."

PERMISSION TO CONTACT

According to Popp, the Esks pitched him Vaughn and then gave the Montreal GM permission to contact the diminutive slotback.

Popp would not elaborate on his discussion with Vaughn other than to say the two have talked.

"I was told by Edmonton I could speak to him and I spoke to him," said Popp.

Nor would Popp divulge details of the lone conversation he had with Eskimos president and CEO Hugh Campbell last week.

Vaughn, who had 78 receptions for 1,062 yards and two majors last season, was ducking the media and not honouring interview requests.

Vaughn, 33, inked a new five-year plus an option deal with the Esks in February 2002 and is entering the fourth year of that pact.

Rookie Esks head coach Danny Maciocia was spouting the party line regarding trade talks or rumours yesterday.

"We get calls every single day," Maciocia reiterated. "Jason Maas's name comes up every so often. Half of our roster has been mentioned at some point in time over the course of the off-season.

"Do I guarantee that we won't make a deal from now to training camp, whether it's for Terry Vaughn or another player? I can't. There's conversations on a daily basis but I'm not going to get into that. It's not right as far as the club or the individual is concerned."

Montreal lost a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in Jeremaine Copeland and Thyron Anderson this winter and are looking to reload.

Despite Vaughn's age and six-figure salary believed to be in excess of $150,000 per season, the Als make no bones about the fact they're interested in the 10-year CFL veteran.

"To add another veteran guy to the system would be of benefit to us if Terry's out there," said Popp. "Whether he's traded, whether's he's cut - whatever it is."

Even wonky knees, bad ankles and a rib injury couldn't prevent Vaughn from racking up his CFL-record 10th consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season in 2004. But Popp is not prepared to mortgage the future to acquire Vaughn.

"That's the reality of it," Popp said. "You're only going to do so much for a 33-year-old guy that was injury-plagued last year and has a big salary. He's not 25 years old, that's the whole thing.

"There comes a time for all players that their best days may not be many, no question about that," Popp said. "Has that time hit Terry? I don't think we really know that."

"I guess we will never know that until he play another season."

MARQUEE PLAYER

With the Esks knee-deep in receiving talent, they could cut Vaughn loose prior to training camp. However, dealing the future Hall of Famer would make more sense.

Were Vaughn to be traded, it's a good bet he'll be headed east. Ottawa missed out on Ed Hervey and Chris Brazzell in the free-agent derby and could use a marquee player like Vaughn.

In the meantime, Maciocia isn't about to lose any sleep.

"It's just like the A.J. Gass thing," Maciocia said recalling speculation the veteran Esks middle linebacker was Ottawa bound in a trade. "What happened with A.J. Gass? Absolutely nothing. They had it played out as if it was a done deal."


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