Sacked and jilted

Joe Montford, cited for lack of production, was axed by the Edmonton Eskimos over the weekend....

Joe Montford, cited for lack of production, was axed by the Edmonton Eskimos over the weekend. (Edmonton Sun File/Jason Franson)

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

Joe Montford is searching for answers.

Dumped by the Edmonton Eskimos for a second time this year, the future Hall of Famer is puzzled by the move and completely frustrated by how his latest release was handled.

"I am not happy and kind of disappointed," said Montford.

"I felt that a guy like myself - who has been in the league for a while - deserved a little bit more professionalism about the whole situation.

"To call a guy like myself over the phone and say you are released without even bringing me in and talking to me and letting me know what the situation was...

"That is more hurtful than anything, considering I dropped everything I had to do in order to come here."

For salary reasons, Montford was originally released during the off-season, but was brought back in early July to try to bolster the defensive line.

NOT BUYING WHAT TEAM IS SELLING

But over the weekend, Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia phoned Montford and cut him again. According to the 36-year-old import defensive end, a few reasons for his release were listed during the conversation - but he clearly isn't buying what the team is selling.

"I'm not playing the run as well as we want you to was (one reason given)," explained Montford.

"But I kept saying that I graded out great on my (game) grade sheet, so I don't know what is going on. The last two games I played a pretty good game."

In those last two contests, Montford had five tackles and one sack while the opposition has averaged nearly 108 yards on the ground.

Another reason given was that Montford was apparently talking to young players too much. That has had Montford thinking for two days, trying to figure out that statement.

"There was one play in the (last) game," he recalled. "We had just given up a big play and our defence was tired, and I asked one of the D-lineman (Jabari Issa) who shuffled in and out to go down to give everybody some rest.

"And I guess they thought that situation might have been a situation where I was trying to coach. But in the CFL - with the limited time-outs - we have always had guys who were rotating in and out to go down to give the defence a chance (to rest). You don't want to waste time-outs on defence. You want to give them to the offence."

But when Maciocia faced the media horde yesterday afternoon at Commonwealth Stadium, he listed one simple reason for Montford's release: Overall production through his four games.

"We felt over the last few weeks that we have got some other guys that can probably do what he did during that period of time and we felt that if we are going to grow - and at times even make some mistakes along the way - we would rather do it with younger guys and develop them," said the coach.

SIMILAR NUMBERS TO YOUNGSTERS

While Montford has had one sack over his four games with the club since being brought back in early August, the younger ends have similar numbers: Rookie Andre Sommersell has one sack in three games, sophomore Chuck Alston has zero sacks in four games and rookie Adam Braidwood has two sacks in three games.

Montford's former teammates are surprised and saddened by his departure - but they understand football is a business.

"I think it's a tough blow," said linebacker Singor Mobley. "But our coaches decided to make that change and we've got to move forward and hope for the best."

Added Braidwood: "It's tough to see him go; he was helping me out a lot and a lot of the other guys."

Based on yesterday's practice, Sommersell seems likely to replace Montford in the starting lineup for Friday's game.


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