Unborn baby calls shots; A. J. listens

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

A tiny unborn baby is already helping A.J. Gass make critical decisions in his life.

While his new daughter won't enter the world until April, it appears her scheduled arrival played a role in Gass re-signing with the Eskimos, instead of testing the free-agent market.

"Dollars are great, but you have got to look at quality of life," said Gass, after his three-year contract (two years plus an option) was announced yesterday.

"I have been in Edmonton for nine years.

"I have a wife, and a baby on the way. It just made more sense to stay here where things are familiar.

"(My wife's) family is close by to help us out with our first baby.

"So, I wasn't going to sit and wait and stress over it for the next two months (when the free-agent market opened) just to squabble over a few dollars."

As it stands, Gass still received an unspecified raise and a signing bonus.

And that isn't exactly shabby for a 31-year-old veteran with a shaky medical past.

Hampered by the death of his mother and a hamstring problem, Gass missed eight of the first nine games this past season.

Not surprisingly, the defence suffered major meltdowns without him at middle linebacker.

"A.J. is a fierce competitor," said Eskimo head coach Danny Maciocia yesterday.

"He is a leader both on and off the field."

By inking Gass to a new deal, Maciocia has sewn-up his two key possible free agents, with Robert Brown having already been signed to a contract.


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