Lions beat Esks to city lineman

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

The B.C. Lions couldn't defeat the Edmonton Eskimos last fall in the CFL playoffs, but Wally Buono's crew beat the Green and Gold in the race to get Jon Hameister-Ries.

The Leos grabbed the Edmonton native in the second round of yesterday's CFL draft.

"He was one of our favourites," said Eskimo head coach Danny Maciocia.

"We had him ranked real high."

By selecting the University of Tulsa offensive lineman with the 15th overall pick, the Lions also added to one of the strangest football odysseys.

After finally relenting to the repeated pleas from a teacher, Hameister-Ries played his first football game in 2002 during his Grade 12 year at Strathcona high school.

And the six-foot-six, 300-pound giant parlayed his only high-school season into a stunning five-year, $125,000 US scholarship to Tulsa.

Fast-forward to today and it's clear to see that the experience on the gridiron in Conference USA has parlayed itself into an opportunity in the CFL "It's weird," said Hameister-Ries of his football journey. "But it has worked out good for me."

But there's no guarantee he will appear with the Lions anytime in the next two years.

"I am going to play next year at Tulsa and then see what opportunities I have," he said last night.

Those opportunities could range from an NFL shot to staying in school for another 18 months to finish an MBA.

DISAPPOINTING DAY: There isn't a young football player in the country who would have traded places with Jarred Winkel yesterday.

The University of Alberta running back had to write a final exam yesterday afternoon knowing his football career might be over because he wasn't selected in the CFL college draft just a few hours before.

"I can't tell you that it didn't affect me (when I was writing the exam)," said Winkel. "I was definitely disappointed.

"It would have been a great honour to be drafted and have a chance of playing in the CFL next year."

Winkel believes he still passed his kinesiology exam, but he admits he might be taking a pass on football next year on campus.

After a stellar 2005 campaign with the Golden Bears - 961 rushing yards on 153 carries - his career could be finished because there is a lack of interest from the CFL.

"You kind of take a couple of steps back and have to re-evaluate your goals and some of the ambitions you have in life," he said.

Winkel was the highest rated Alberta product and was projected to be a mid-to-late-round pick.

FINISH LINES: The Bears were shut out yesterday. Jason Milne and Darryl Salmon were also ignored.

"They're all good quality players and it is a disappointment," said Alberta head coach Jerry Friesen.

But Maciocia believes the trio of Bears just got caught in a deep draft.

"This was a good crop and probably one of the best crops I have seen in the last 10 years," he said.


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