Signing good for CFL

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:07 AM ET

The news that Ricky Williams was signed, sealed and delivered to the CFL is generally thought of as a good thing by the Edmonton Eskimos.

Williams's marijuana habits and subsequent suspensions from the NFL gave him as high a profile as did his incredible talent on the field. By agreeing yesterday to a deal with the Toronto Argonauts there will be plenty of attention on him and the CFL.

BAD PUBLICITY IS STILL PUBLICITY

And as they say, there's no such thing as bad publicity.

"We just lost a franchise in Ottawa and regardless of Ricky's situation, he's a big-name guy and obviously people in the States are going to follow him," said Eskimos wide receiver Ed Hervey, who figured the increased media exposure that Williams brings to the league will outweigh any negativity.

"There's been good players who've had issue with drugs that have come up here in the past, but he's probably the one with the highest profile," Hervey added. "But with him out there, Toronto's going to be on TV and ratings will be up.

"Fans can watch the CFL across North America, but more people might want to see what Ricky's doing and that will mean more opportunities for them to see Edmonton, B.C. and Calgary and see how great our game is."

Esks head coach Danny Maciocia is all in favour of giving second or even third chances to players who have strayed from the straight and narrow.

That being said, though, he would have to carefully consider all the evidence in front of him before someone with Williams's reputation could be part of the Eskimos.

LOTS OF FACTORS TO CONSIDER

"You have to factor in your locker-room and how that's going to be and what kind of organization you have and the image that you want to portray," explained Maciocia.

"This team is community-owned and is all about community, and when we do sign players, we make sure that they're a good fit in our community. Some teams may feel they want to employ someone like that and there are probably teams that would shy away."


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