Return of The Dream

Rahim Abdullah yawns during the Eskimos' practice at Clarke Stadium on Monday. (Sun Media/Darryl...

Rahim Abdullah yawns during the Eskimos' practice at Clarke Stadium on Monday. (Sun Media/Darryl Dyck)

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos are hoping Rahim Abdullah will live up to his old nickname.

In his early football days, the 31-year-old defensive end was known as Rahim "The Dream" Abdullah.

Now with rush end Brandon Guillory on the shelf with swelling around his spinal cord and little experience with the other candidates in camp, it is no surprise the Esks have brought Abdullah back for another tour of duty.

The club signed him to a free-agent deal over the weekend.

"What I wanted to do was make sure we had someone here that fits pretty good in a 4-3 (defensive) scheme," said Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia.

"He's played in this scheme before and understands most of the calls and the responsibilities that go with playing the wide field end.

"I thought he had a pretty good year last year."

In a 3-4 defensive scheme in Calgary last year - which is tougher for a defensive end to play - Abdullah registered nine sacks.

In comparison, Robert Brown led the Esks with 12 in 2006, but rookie Adam Braidwood was next with just four.

"This is where I started and where I would like to finish up (my CFL career)," said Abdullah after his first day of practice with the Esks yesterday.

"I am happy to be here."

Never shy to share his opinion, Abdullah already believes he has most of the Edmonton defence down pat and could play Thursday night in the final pre-season game.

"I'm always in game shape," he stated.

That mouth is well known by CFL reporters - constantly talking. But Maciocia isn't worried about it.

"I don't have a problem as long as he backs it up with his play on the field," remarked the coach. "He was here and we won games with him. We also won a championship. He'll be fine."

The Florida native played with Edmonton from 2002-2004 - but missed time during his rookie season because of a blood clot in his heart.

With the Esks not exactly keen on bringing him back, he left for Calgary in the 2005 off-season. That relationship ended last winter when the Stamps apparently didn't offer enough money in a new contract.

"This is the game of football, you never know where you are going to be at," said Abdullah.

"I am still playing and that is the only thing that really matters to me."

Braidwood is certainly happy with the addition. With only 10 starts under his belt in the CFL, he was the so-called veteran of the group.

"He has already been telling me some stuff," said Braidwood. "Any time you get a guy with a lot of experience, it obviously helps me out a lot."

Meanwhile, Guillory was scheduled to arrive in Edmonton yesterday afternoon after being released from Calgary hospital, but his playing status is very much up in the air after suffering a spinal cord contusion on Friday night.

"He has got some tingling sensations in his fingers," said Maciocia.

"It is slowly coming back. Dr. Reid needs to sit down with some specialists and figure out the extent of the injury."


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