Esks homeless, but not without supporters

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:58 AM ET

The unofficial 'Adopt an Eskimo' campaign is hitting high gear.

After a front-page headline in yesterday's Sun detailing 20 new Edmonton Eskimos looking for a home before the start of the regular season, the club has been hit with plenty of phone calls.

"I don't have a hard number, but we have had a lot of calls (this morning)," said Eskimos director of communications Dave Jamieson.

"And not surprisingly, fans are passionate, dedicated and they want to help us out.

"So people have come forward just offering either leads or saying: 'Hey, I got a suite I know of.' "

Due to the housing crisis in this city, finding a place to live is difficult. The idea of billeting players has been talked about within the organization. But so far, no players are in a billet situation.

At the moment, they are just scrambling to find a place before being punted out of the team's training camp hotel on Thursday, which is the day the regular season starts at Commonwealth Stadium.

Backup quarterback Steven Jyles is looking for a home or a three-bedroom apartment to share with rookie receiver Fred Stamps and defensive end Brandon Guillory. The trio is willing to pay up to $2,400 a month.

But Jyles isn't interested in billeting with a family in a basement suite.

"I think that is like a hassle," said Jyles. "You got to worry about respecting their privacy and worry about them respecting your privacy.

"Whereas if you have your roommates, you are like brothers on a team.

"They will respect (you). They won't go in your room and if they did, it wouldn't be a big deal."

Rookie defensive lineman Michael Jean-Louis actually rented a car yesterday with young receiver J.F. Romeo to go apartment hunting.

"I knew the apartments were like way more expensive compared to Quebec, but I didn't know it was that expensive and that rare," said Jean-Louis.

The Sun newsroom even took calls from people willing to help in the search. One person claimed to have the power to negotiate a price for a leisure-type centre, which apparently could hold 26 Eskimos for the next few months.

But Jamieson is stressing that the possibility of billeting players is a concept still being worked on by team administration.

"It is just going to take us a little bit of time to try to gather this information," he said of the phone calls, the details that come and the specific questions that have to be asked.

"At the end, the team is trying to prepare for Thursday (the regular-season opener at Commonwealth Stadium).

"We are going to move as quickly as we can and make sure our players get settled, so they can focus on the task at hand - which is playing."

In Jamieson's 10 years with the club, there has never been a player billeted with a family - but these are also very high times for the housing economy.

Rookie running back Tyler Ebell is just thankful he has found a place. He's joined Charles Alston, Ron Warner and Stanford Samuels as roommates with a house.

"I am not homeless," said Ebell, but added the foursome would like to find a cheap car.

"Anybody who is selling an Astro-Van, Caravan, family wagon, we are in there (for that)," said Ebell.


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