Above average Joe at home and waiting

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:21 AM ET

The Saskatchewan Roughriders offered Joe Montford a chance to prove the Edmonton Eskimos wrong.

After being cut by the Esks in April, the Riders made a contract offer to the future CFL Hall of Famer this spring, but Montford rejected it - and wasn't battling in the trench at Commonwealth Stadium last night when the Riders paid a visit for their final preseason game.

"I wanted to make sure everything was best for my family," said Montford, when explaining why he turned down the Riders' offer.

"In Edmonton, it was comfortable. My daughter has a hearing aid and she got right into speech therapy (in Edmonton) and got into classes that could help her develop."

While the 11-year CFL veteran didn't elaborate any more, it's clear to assume he felt there wasn't enough money on the table and enough job security to move his family north from Georgia and settle in Regina.

Montford's salary package in Edmonton last year was $165,000, but the Riders reportedly offered less than $100,000, possibly even half of what he made last year.

And the competition for a defensive end job would have been stiff in Regina. Terrell Jurineack is healthy again and has been extremely productive when he has been in the lineup, averaging a sack per game during his injury-marred two years with the Riders. The Green and White also have Fred Perry, who had one more sack than Montford last year.

Both are younger than the Eskimos' 2005 defensive MVP. At 28, Jurineack is seven years Montford's junior.

Age aside, Montford admits he's baffled that he's still sitting at home while training camps officially end today across the league.

When he was dumped on April 27 by the defending Grey Cup champs, the official reason given was his high salary. But in reality the Esks felt very confident in their younger talent. At the time, Montford felt another team should pick him up - and he still feels that way.

"You come off a Grey Cup year and you had an MVP year for the team you were playing with," he said.

"It's kind of strange the way the league is. Supposedly they get tired of seeing one face so much they kind of push you to the side."

LATE HITS: Completely overlooked at the Eskimos' training camp is the fact that Jason Lamar completely misplayed his cards.

To be blunt, he couldn't have played them any worse.

If he hadn't demanded and - subsequently - received his release from the Esks this off-season, his stock could have drastically increased in training camp with A.J. Gass's absence.

Lamar's main beef with the Esks was the fact that he wouldn't become the starting middle linebacker because of Gass's presence.

But if the former CFL all-star had kept his mouth shut this winter and shown up for camp, he probably would have played in the two preseason games and received plenty of valuable game film to market himself to other teams after camp concluded and Gass returned to his starting role.

Instead, Lamar's stuck at home in southern Ontario with no pending CFL offers and a reputation for having loose lips and poor judgment.

FINISH LINE: If Jarred Winkel is cut by the Eskimos today and not offered one of seven practice roster spots, there is a distinct chance that he won't report to the University of Alberta Golden Bears for another season. In fact, today could be the end of Winkel's football career. 


Videos

Photos