Ralph ready to rumble

Brock Ralph poses outside the Edmonton Eskimos' office yesterday after rejoining the club. The...

Brock Ralph poses outside the Edmonton Eskimos' office yesterday after rejoining the club. The Alberta-born receiver is returning to the Esks after being cut by the NFL's New York Jets. (Edmonton Sun/Darryl Dyck)

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

Brock Ralph is ready for war, and the Edmonton Eskimos are determined to deploy him in the Battle of Alberta -- Labour Day Classic edition.

Ralph, who was cut by the New York Jets on Sunday, officially rejoined the Esks yesterday and got down to the business of relearning the playbook.

The six-foot-three, 190-pound receiver from Raymond, expects to suit up on Monday against his brother Brett and the rest of the Calgary Stampeders.

"It does feel different to be back, but in the same breath it feels like I never left," said Ralph. "I'm kind of surprised how much I remember from what we were doing here before. These couple of days that we're off are going to be important for me to catch up.

"Most of the things that we were doing here before are still in the package, and a lot of that is just a refresher. There's still some finer points that I will need to get caught up on. The real test will be Wednesday when I line up and I'm expected to do these things -- trying to think and run at the same time."

Ralph caught 49 passes for 634 yards and a touchdown for the Esks last season and will definitely be a prime target for Ricky Ray.

"If he's good to go, we'll find him a spot," said head coach Danny Maciocia. "There are several options available to us, but I want to make sure he's ready to go.

'BEST HE'S BEEN'

"Physically, this is the best he's been. That experience in New York is going to do him a lot of good. It's just a question of him getting comfortable mentally.

"Right now, instead of saying we'll insert him for such and such an individual, the most important thing is that we have a good feel for what we're doing and get him in sync with the quarterback."

While he is predominantly focused on the Esks' playbook, there are a few other thoughts dancing in Ralph's mind -- the most pleasant of which is the opportunity to face Brett.

"I'm sure we'll talk after games, and I'm sure the guy who will be calling will be the guy who came out on top," said Ralph.

"I could kind of hang my head about things, but I knew what I was getting into. I'm trying to move forward and move on. I'm mixed about being back up here, but there's still things for me to get excited about."

Brother Brett has mixed feelings. "I was hoping the Jets would wait a couple more weeks. I was hoping he never came back, actually," he said with a chuckle.

"When you're in the same league, you play each team at least once. I'm glad I don't have to face Brock on offence while I was on defence or something like that. I'm hopeful he does well against us, but that we win."

LATE HITS: As Ralph reads up on the playbook he'll be joined by running back Michael Jenkins, who could also debut in the Labour Day Classic. It's still a wait-and-see proposition as far as Maciocia is concerned -- particularly after Ron McClendon's solid outing against Montreal.

"We'll make sure we get him up to speed so when he does take the field he'll be ready to go. But we need to see him do it," said Maciocia.


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