Just for kicks

The Edmonton Eskimos have signed kicker Sean Fleming to a three-year extension. (Edmonton Sun...

The Edmonton Eskimos have signed kicker Sean Fleming to a three-year extension. (Edmonton Sun File/Darryl Dyck)

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

The 2005 CFL season had more plot twists than a daytime drama for Sean Fleming.

It began with the Edmonton Eskimos inviting other kickers to training camp, forcing the 14-year veteran to compete for his job.

After beating out the younger challengers, Fleming went on to kick his 465th career field goal, passing Dave Cutler for top spot on the Eskimos' all-time list.

Then came a mid-season slump where Fleming was replaced by Hayden Epstein. But when Epstein faltered, Fleming got his job back and went on to hit 21 of his last 23 field goals, including the eventual game-winner in overtime at the Grey Cup.

Yesterday, the Eskimos announced they had signed Fleming to a three-year extension.

Terms weren't released but he said he has no plans to take another pay cut - after volunteering to shave $15,000 off his salary last year to keep Ed Hervey in Edmonton.

"I haven't been asked (to take a cut)," said Fleming. "That issue has been dealt with and they have paid me back the salary.

"It was something that I wasn't expecting from them but they broached the subject and that's how that worked out."

Fleming was 25-37 in field goal kicking last season and punted for an average of 40.2 yards. He finished the year as the Eskimos' all-time leader in field goals (486) and points (2,269). He also collected his fifth Grey Cup championship.

"Sean finished the year in outstanding form and we expect that to continue in 2006," said Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia. "His versatility makes him valuable to our team as a kicker, punter and all the other things he does with his feet."

This season will be Fleming's 15th with the Eskimos. Originally drafted by the club in the first round (sixth overall) of the 1992 CFL Canadian Draft, Fleming has spent his entire CFL career in Edmonton.

"To say you played with one team all your career, to do double-duty (punting, kicking) like I have for as long as I have, with all the great kickers that we've had, that's important," Fleming said.

"You just try and do your best on the field and off the field; playing in this city it's not always about results, it's about the whole package. At the end of my career, that's something I'll look back on and really be proud of."

Fleming has had a love-hate relationship with Eskimo fans throughout his career.

The native of Burnaby, B.C., is no stranger to getting booed off the field. And there were times last season where Fleming considered calling it quits.

"I've had bad patches throughout my career, where I've not played well and missed a few kicks here and there," Fleming said. "But to be able to come through that and not stick your head in the sand, that's important. I've done that a few times and that's really what's satisfying, that I've been able to bounce back."

Fleming is hoping this upcoming season is not as tumultuous as the previous year was. "I'd like to be a little more consistent this year."

DONE DEAL: Defensive back Davis Sanchez passed a physical with the Montreal Alouettes earlier this week, finalizing the deal which brought defensive tackle Robert Brown and defensive back Reggie Durden to Edmonton.


Photos