Days of torture

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

Trevor Gaylor's "torture" is over.

With the Edmonton Eskimo offence in desperate need of a spark, head coach Danny Maciocia is bringing the lanky receiver back into the line up this week for the first time in six games.

"It has been torture, to be honest - to sit there and watch my team go out and play," said Gaylor of his time on the sidelines since being benched after the regular-season opener in Calgary on June 17.

"It definitely hurt me (being demoted to the sidelines) because I think I bring a certain presence when I am in the huddle."

The second-year Eskimo was benched for his inconsistent play after he left the huddle, with the last straw apparently being a catchable ball that clanged off his hands at McMahon Stadium during the Esks' first loss of the year.

Maciocia had seen enough of Gaylor's act of making tough catches in nasty traffic but dropping the simplest passes.

However, with the Eskimo offence only scoring 104 points through six games - the second-lowest offensive output in the CFL - and desperately needing somebody to make some big plays, Maciocia is obviously willing to give Gaylor a second chance.

SO AGILE

"He is tough to cover because he is so agile," said Maciocia of his import receiver who nearly had 1,000 yards last year.

"He can make catches that maybe only another guy - like (Jason) Tucker - can make.

"But it's the ones that are on the money that he needs to catch.

"He needs to secure the football, block downfield and can't have any missed assignments."

And Gaylor seems to have learned that lesson.

"If I am going to stay on the field I have got to make every single play," he said yesterday afternoon.

"Now I can look back at the mistakes I (made) and make sure they don't happen again."

Putting the perfect label on himself certainly brings a lot of pressure, but Gaylor doesn't seem to care.

"That's the pressure I am putting on myself," he explained. "I think right now this team is at a time where we need guys to be perfect.

"We need certain guys that we can lean on and guys you can depend on every single play."

LIFE IN THE BASEMENT

The Esks have lost three of their last four games and are stuck in the West Division basement with a 2-4 record.

Gaylor makes his return to the field Friday night against the first-place Lions at B.C. Place - a stadium that he remembers for good and bad reasons.

With the Green and Gold leading 21-3 in the Western Final last year, Gaylor couldn't squeeze a catchable Ricky Ray pass over the middle of the field.

He watched the pigskin bounce off him and into the waiting hands of B.C. Lion safety Barron Miles.

That miscue led to a B.C. major, which sparked an 18-point comeback to tie the game.

The costly gaffe also led to Jason Maas giving Gaylor a halftime speech, trying to refocus the young receiver - and it worked because when Maas entered the game in the fourth quarter, he found Gaylor for the game-winning touchdown.

And while Maas isn't here this year for any more stern talks, the former pivot has surely played a role in Gaylor returning to the roster.

"I took a page of out of Maas' book when I was sitting down (this season)," admitted Gaylor.

"I said to myself: 'If Jason Maas can sit down for an entire season (in 2005) and not complain one time, I better not say one thing either."

And Maciocia - who seems to ship players with bad attitudes out of town - definitely noticed the 28-year-old's attitude.

"He has played really well (in practice) and hasn't said anything negative. He hasn't been a distraction," said the coach.

Now he is hoping Gaylor becomes a major addition come Friday night.

FINISH LINES: With Gaylor being added to the roster, the Esks have to drop an American. Maciocia isn't tipping his hand, but receiver Richard Alston could be the odd man out.


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