Jeanty returning to Esk lineup

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:38 PM ET

How good is Edmonton Eskimo defensive end Rashad Jeanty?

If you ask Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach Greg Marshall you'll receive a very straight answer.

"I think he's one in a million," said Marshall, who had to watch Jeanty work against his offensive line in July, but was thankful he didn't have to see him last week in the return battle at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

However, the Toronto Argos will likely see Jeanty on Monday afternoon as the talented defensive lineman appears set to return to the roster after missing nearly three weeks with a shoulder injury.

When Jeanty started his last game - in Regina against the Roughriders in mid-September - he was leading the Eskimos with seven sacks.

But his left shoulder slipped out of place while blocking on a special teams assignment at Taylor Field, sending him to the sidelines for the next two games.

It has been his first dose of adversity this season - but nothing compared to the adversity he faced growing up in a tough Miami neighbourhood.

"My father passed away when I was five years old," remembered Jeanty.

Unfortunately, that was just the beginning of the heartache and troubling temptations.

"I lost a lot of friends to gunshots," he continued.

"I have two cousins right now that are serving life sentences for things that they shouldn't have been doing."

One of those prison terms is for first-degree murder.

Jeanty was "extremely close" to his cousins and also came close to finding trouble.

"Dudes were trying to lure me into selling drugs," recalled Jeanty, who was the 14th-ranked high school football player in the U.S. when he graduated.

How was he able to avoid trouble when it was all around him?

"Faith. Do you want to fall down that hole? No, I don't," he said, while also giving his siblings credit for keeping him out of the hands of police.

The six-foot-three, 230-pound lineman chose Central Florida over Virginia Tech, but stayed just two seasons before leaving to join the Eskimos.

"I want to make a name for myself, hopefully raise children and have a nice family," he added.

"I actually want to make a home here in Edmonton. It is so laid-back."

But the 22-year-old's contract expires at the end of the year - and other teams are bound to pay attention if he hits the free agent market because he has definitely turned heads around the league this season. Just ask Marshall.


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