Not on Esks' turf

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:59 AM ET

Nobody in the Edmonton Eskimos' secondary wants to make history with Milt Stegall on Thursday night at Commonwealth Stadium.

After torching the Esks for a miracle 100-yard game-winning touchdown last year, Stegall returns to the Green and Gold's home this week with a chance to set the CFL record for all-time touchdowns.

At 136, Stegall is one shy of equaling the mark and two away from taking the record away from George Reed and Mike Pringle.

"You never want to be on somebody's highlight film when they break (a) record," said Edmonton defensive halfback Jason Goss.

"It would be shown everywhere and it would be on you.

"That is one thing you don't want - seeing the news and seeing this guy (Stegall) breaking a record."

Goss will likely see a little of Stegall on his side of the field this week.

But the main responsibility for shutting down the wickedly explosive slotback falls to Stanford Samuels - Stegall's old teammate in Winnipeg.

"It is crazy and we talked about it before I came up here," said Samuels, who came to Edmonton as an off-season free agent.

"We laughed about it.

"It is going to be fun."

Fun, providing Stegall does not make history at Commonwealth.

A smart football player who doesn't want to make bulletin board statements to fire up anyone, Samuels is making a safe prediction for Thursday.

"It is going to be a good show," said Samuels. "He is going to make plays. I am going to make plays.

"That is the one guarantee you can take from this game."

Edmonton couldn't have asked for a better match up with Stegall.

Samuels has been nothing short of excellent during the pre-season - likely the club's best defender.

He had five tackles, one quarterback sack and two interceptions against the B.C. Lions in the final pre-season game last week.

But more importantly, he has two years of experience going against the ageless Stegall in practice in Winnipeg.

"He is a great player. He knows his game real well and he uses it to his advantage: the way he changes his speed throughout his routes and his knowledge of coverage," explained Samuels. "And he is in some hellified shape.

"He is 37 but he looks like he is 21.

"I heard one thing he said: he said there are three things guaranteed in life - death, taxes and Milt being in shape."

Stegall is coming off a rock-solid pre-season - maybe the only member of the Bombers' offensive crew who is ready to start the regular season if you listen to the scuttlebutt from the Manitoba capital.

FINISH LINES: IF THE RECORD DOESN'T FALL ON THURSDAY, THE ESKIMO SECONDARY MIGHT NOT BE OUT OF THE WOODS BECAUSE THE CLUB TRAVELS TO WINNIPEG TO PLAY JULY 13.\


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