Esks may lose Spencer

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos are trying to avoid losing a second member of their defensive line.

With Rashad Jeanty now in the NFL, the Green and Gold would have two holes to plug if Canadian tackle Randy Spencer reaches the free-agent market tomorrow night and signs with another team.

Edmonton has made a contract offer in hope of keeping Spencer, but as it stands, it hasn't been enough to make him put pen to paper.

"It's fair to say we are looking for a raise," said Spencer's southern Ontario agent Scott Mitchell.

"Basically, Randy has been playing for the (league's) minimum salary for three years and he has now established himself as an every-down player."

The CFL's minimum salary is about $40,000.

Spencer led the team with six sacks in 2004, but only recorded three sacks last year while suffering through calf injuries. There is already a suggestion circulating that the Ottawa Renegades might take a run at Spencer if he reaches the open market.

SHORT HIT: There is no major update in the Eskimos' quest to get Jason Tucker's signature on a contract. The two sides have been talking for weeks.

EXTRA POINT: So much for perfect timing.

With Henry (Gizmo) Williams and Matt Dunigan entering the Hamilton-based Canadian Football Hall of Fame this fall, the event's key organizer was hoping to stage the ceremony in mid-September while the Eskimos visited the Tiger-Cats.

But that plan has gone up in smoke.

"It's primarily a hotel (issue)," said Janice Smith, the Hall's managing director. "In Hamilton, we only have one major hotel."

The Sheraton hotel - a key sponsor of the event - doesn't have enough rooms during the Sept. 15-17 weekend to accommodate the Hall's needs. Instead, Williams and Dunigan will be inducted on Sept. 29, the day before the 'Gades visit the Tabbies.

PITT FOR STARTERS? The 2006 NFL season most likely will start in Pittsburgh on Sept. 7, keeping with a recent trend of beginning the schedule with the current Super Bowl champion. The NFL also is considering an ESPN doubleheader for the opening Monday night on Sept. 11. The league is still open to a game overseas, perhaps in London's Wembley Stadium.

WHAT'S UP, DOC? A doctor accused of writing illegal steroid prescriptions to football players has agreed to plead guilty to one federal conspiracy charge as part of a plea bargin, according to court documents.

Alternative medicine physician James Shortt will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids and human growth hormone. In exchange, prosecutors will drop 42 similar counts.


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