Baggs o' luck

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:59 AM ET

The stars must be aligning for Danny Maciocia these days.

Case in point is Stevie Baggs - the latest addition to the Edmonton Eskimos defence and special teams units.

"I have been trying to trade for him for the last little while and I couldn't work out a trade," said Maciocia, Edmonton's head coach.

"And then I guess I lucked out (Sunday)."

That is when the Blue Bombers released the 25-year-old import defensive end.

On the street and free for the taking, Edmonton didn't waste any time scooping him up. He was in full gear - wearing No. 97 - at Eskimo practice yesterday.

But Maciocia strongly denies that he is picking Baggs' brain for details on Winnipeg's playbook.

It's only a coincidence that Edmonton will host the Bombers on Thursday night at Commonwealth Stadium to open the regular season.

"In all honesty, I haven't even asked him (about Winnipeg's playbook)," stated Maciocia. "I don't even care about that.

"He is here because he is a quality football player.

"It has nothing to do with us trying to scout Winnipeg by bringing in a player - trying to pick his mind."

BIG ON THE ESKS

For his two cents, Baggs believes the Eskimos don't need whatever information he has on the Bombers' playbook.

"I think the guys you have assembled here - that we can go out and beat them (Winnipeg on Thursday) without me telling them anything," said Baggs.

Maciocia is hoping he has found a diamond in the rough. Stuck behind Gavin Walls and Tom Canada on Winnipeg's defensive line, Baggs rarely played with the Bombers last year. In fact, he dressed for just five regular season games and made one defensive tackle.

There is no official word on whether Baggs will play this week - but when he does hit the field at Commonwealth Stadium, he won't be hard to miss.

The personable Florida native is noticeably pigeon-toed - especially when he walks and slowly jogs.

But when he charges off the line, it doesn't bother him at all.

GENETIC CONDITION

In fact, he thinks the genetic condition - his father and grandfather walk the same way - helps him out on the field.

"I think it gives me a little more balance," said Baggs.

The 6-2, 240 pounder is also quick to point out that he is not alone with this condition.

"You look at some of the best players to ever play this game - or athletes period - they walk the same way I do," said Baggs, before starting his list.

"Jackie Robinson, John Elway, Barrin Simpson in this league, O.J. Simpson."

It's quite a list of names - but the best name in this story might be Baggs' nickname.

He was called Shakespeare while playing at Bethune-Cookman College in Florida.

"Because all I did was make plays," quipped Baggs.

Maciocia certainly hopes the nickname holds true with his team.

"I think he is a very good football player," said the coach.

"He is young.

"He has done some great things at college. His motor is always running."

It's unclear if Baggs has been placed directly on the Esks' 46-man roster or if he is on the practice roster. Either way, he can be legally activated to play this week.


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