Brown coming back

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:32 PM ET

Amber Brown couldn't resist the golden opportunity.

With her husband Robert on the other side of the world in Africa, Amber had some fun on the phone.

It was two days after Robert had been dealt on Feb. 18 to the Eskimos from the Montreal Alouettes - and it was Amber's job to pass along the news to him from her Edmonton home.

But instead, she played a joke on her husband.

"I said, 'We're going to Winnipeg' - and the phone line went dead," recalled Amber.

"Winnipeg was the one place that wouldn't have been our first choice. I guess that's a nice way of putting it.

"But then when I went on to tell Robert that he really was traded (to Edmonton instead of Winnipeg), he wouldn't believe me. Here we are on a satellite phone 48 million miles apart... and it took me about three minutes to get across to him that I wasn't lying."

THRILLED TO BE BACK

But the joke aside, Robert is thrilled to be returning to the Eskimos after leaving for Montreal in 2002.

"It's good to be back home," said Robert in his first public comments on the trade after returning from Africa.

"Once an Eskimo, always an Eskimo."

Life couldn't be much better for Robert, who has had an off-season home in Edmonton for two years.

Amber is expecting their first child in May and the trade allows the family to stay together year-round in their permanent home.

But that's only part of the story.

Robert wanted out of Montreal. In fact, he asked for his release late last year - but not because his wife is expecting.

"I wasn't happy with my performance and where the club was going," he recalled.

"I talked to coach Matthews a couple of times and didn't really feel comfortable with the meetings. So, finally, I said I was going to talk to Jim (Popp, the general manager)."

OFF YEAR

Although he started 15 regular season games at defensive tackle and the Grey Cup against the Eskimos last year, Robert had his worst statistical season in his eight-year CFL career.

The 31-year-old import had just two sacks and seven tackles in the regular season.

"I knew what I wanted to accomplish and I didn't feel like I was able to do that in (Montreal's defensive) scheme," Robert explained.

"It was making it really hard for me to do my job when (the coaches) are asking me to do something totally different than what somebody else would do."

Robert doesn't want to elaborate any further on the past - but is definitely pumped about the future. He can't wait to go to camp to battle Jabari Issa and Cedric Scott for a starting spot.

"I'm reinvigorated with the challenge," he remarked.

And if he gets his wish, he'll battle his ex-mates on opening night of the season.

"I'm excited and it has been a while since I have been able to say that," he commented.

Robert knows a small hiccup has developed in last month's trade, with Davis Sanchez needing to pass his medical at the end of the month or the deal could be voided, sending him back to Montreal with Reggie Durden.

But after Amber phoned Sanchez, there's no longer any concern in the Brown household.

"I shared with (Sanchez) that he was causing me extra stress and he was quite laidback while telling me not to worry," said Amber.


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