Special place for A.J.

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

A.J. Gass's life is starting to return to normal.

After a brutal spring with the passing of his mother - which kept him in the United States for almost all of training camp - the heart and soul of the Eskimo locker-room is thrilled that head coach Danny Maciocia plans to insert him into the lineup for the first time this season tomorrow in Winnipeg.

"To know that I have the opportunity to strap it up and play is satisfying," said Gass.

"It's a feeling of normalcy, getting back into a routine and being part of something."

Gass will play on special teams and possibly during the odd defensive formation.

But Quincy Stewart will remain the middle linebacker - a position Gass dominated last year with all-star ease.

However, Gass isn't about to stir the pot and whine about not getting his old job back at the moment.

"Our defence is in good hands with Quincy," said Gass.

"He's a smart player. He has done very well in every game he has played this year."

SHORT HIT: Before Gass charges down the field on the first kickoff or punt of the game tomorrow, he will have spent a few minutes remembering his mother, who was the biggest fan of his football career.

"I take time before every game to reflect on my family," he explained, "and I draw on their strength.

"My mom will be part of that. She is in my heart - and such a big part of my football career was due to her and her sacrifice."

QUICK HIT: As expected, Antico Dalton will come out of the lineup to get Gass on the main 42-man roster. Slowed by a hamstring injury, Dalton will be one of the members on the four-man reserve squad tomorrow who receives a full salary but doesn't dress.


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