Terry Vaughn says he didn't want out of Edmonton, but he did force the issue when it came time to get a deal done.
After being told the Eskimos wanted to get younger in their receiving corps, Vaughn says he was willing to move on. But after nearly a month of watching offers come and go, Vaughn still belonged to the Esks.
And it was only after making a Hail Mary call to team president Hugh Campbell late last week that the 10-year veteran receiver finally saw the long-rumoured trade become reality.
"I didn't pressure them, but Hugh is the mover and shaker. No one has the power to do anything in that organization except him," said Vaughn from his home in Phoenix after the Eskimos had dealt him and their sixth-round pick (49th overall) in yesterday's CFL Canadian College Draft to Montreal for non-import safety William Loftus.
"Danny Maciocia came to me and explained that he wanted to go with a younger group of receivers, and that didn't bother me because there's no loyalty in professional sports.
"My thing was that based on my service to the team and the community, I wanted to choose a place that I wanted to go to. I thought I earned that."
With Ottawa's shaky ownership situation being a potential risk to his contract (two years left at a price rumoured to be around $200,000 per season), Vaughn says there was one team on his wish list.
A desire to play with quarterback Anthony Calvillo and be reunited with head coach Don Matthews and offensive co-ordinator Kevin Strasser put the Alouettes out alone. The problem was that no deal could be worked out for Vaughn until midway through the draft. Vaughn will bring a streak of 10 consecutive seasons with 1,000 yards in receptions to the Als.
"I just told them that they couldn't ask the world for me," said Vaughn of his chat with Campbell. "What they were asking was unreasonable - first-round picks. I think I handled things professionally and the end result was what I wanted."
After he was told to make way for youth, Vaughn says he wasn't prepared to make his way to training camp in Edmonton if a deal wasn't done.
"I had issues and they had issues and the relationship couldn't be repaired," said Vaughn, who denied he wanted out of the city after the failure of his downtown lounge.
The 33-year-old leaves the Esks in second spot with 545 catches for 7,681 yards and as the club's record holder for single-season receptions at 106 and receiving yards in a game with 275.
The Eskimos felt they had no choice but to move him on if they wanted to get the most out of their prospects as well as the team budget. "As far as I'm concerned, Terry Vaughn in 2005 will get another 1,000 yards and he'll be a player to be reckoned with," said Maciocia.
"I'm glad we won a Grey Cup together - that's something that I will always cherish. It's never easy to deal someone like him, but there comes a point in time that you feel as an organization you have to move on and this is it. This is not something we did just for the sake of doing it."
Loftus had three years with the Alouettes, during which he racked up 173 tackles and eight interceptions. He started only one of 12 games he appeared in last season and registered just eight tackles. Maciocia labelled the 29-year-old native of Vancouver as a blue-collar headhunter.
"God blessed me with the talent to hit people," chuckled Loftus.
"I was very surprised because I talked to Montreal and they wanted to bring me into camp and then I got the call. But it's great news. I played for Danny Maciocia before and he's the kind of coach that you'd throw yourself on the line for every day. It's good to feel wanted and I want to do what I can to contribute."
Ed Hervey said Vaughn will be missed.
"I'm disappointed because he was a good friend, but Terry is very excited and we're all thrilled for him that he's still playing the game," said Hervey. "I still think he's got a lot left to show in this league."
Singor Mobley said the Esks will miss Vaughn's voice in the locker-room. "He is a leader and that's what this team was built on, is leadership.''