Crowded pocket

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

In a game that means nothing in the standings to the Edmonton Eskimos tonight, it could mean everything to Jason Johnson.

Head coach Danny Maciocia hasn't announced his quarterback rotation against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but it's widely expected Johnson will likely see some action.

And while the backup to Ricky Ray would love to answer the strong outing by third-stringer Steven Jyles last week, there are intriguing new developments behind the scenes that could drastically impact his future with the club.

The Sun has learned the Eskimos have offered a contract - believed to be three years in length - to former college star pivot Stefan LeFors.

In fact, the Green and Gold are so interested in LeFors they quietly snuck him into the city earlier this month to sell him on the organization and meet the coaches.

"They brought my wife and I up there to check things out," revealed LeFors from Charlotte, North Carolina, yesterday morning.

"It was neat."

JOHNSON IN JEOPARDY

If the 25-year-old signs with Edmonton, it could end Johnson's three-year tenure with the Esks.

With Ray's job guaranteed and Jyles showing the most mobility and arm strength in the organization, Johnson could definitely be the odd man out.

In that case, tonight's game could easily amount to a show-and-tell exhibition for the other seven teams in the league looking for quarterback help in 2007.

However, if LeFors bypasses on a CFL chance and Johnson shines in his role tonight, he could easily return for a fourth season next summer.

"After the season everything will get sorted out - whatever will happen," said Johnson.

"You can only really worry about what you can control and that is when I am under centre."

With an option year remaining on his contract, Johnson is really just waiting for his big break in his professional career.

A standout at the University of Arizona, the 26-year-old has thrown just 19 passes in three years behind Ray and Jason Maas.

"Nobody would even know who (Buck Pierce) was had he not got a chance this year (in B.C. with injuries)," continued Johnson.

As for LeFors, he's close to making a decision on Edmonton's contract offer.

"It could happen," he said of coming north to join the Eskimos, "but I am on the fence."

That's because there are several factors to weigh for the former University of Louisville gunslinger who spent last year with the Carolina Panthers before being released this fall.

"If I end up going to Edmonton maybe I forfeit some chances in the NFL," he said.

"My dream is to get (back) into the NFL.

"But I also want to play the game."

And that is where Edmonton could win.

NO NFL DEAL YET

LeFors has worked out for six teams south of the border this year, but that hasn't amounted to a lucrative deal yet.

He could wait around hoping for an injury with an NFL team, but that may never materialize into a contract offer.

With a 3,000-yard passing season on his college resume, the Louisiana native has a strong arm, but can also run.

On the Eskimos radar screen since he was in high school, the club is now just waiting for an answer.


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