Fortunate son

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:07 AM ET

Timmy Chang has no idea what he would be doing if the Edmonton Eskimos hadn't done him a major favour.

The current Tiger-Cats quarterback doesn't even know if he would still be in football if the Esks hadn't traded his negotiation rights to Hamilton in the off-season.

"I was very fortunate in Hamilton picking up my rights," said Chang yesterday.

"I am very thankful."

Chang is a backup to starter Jason Maas tonight when the Tabbies battle the Eskimos at Commonwealth Stadium.

But he is regarded as the quarterback of the future in Hamilton.

When that future comes - nobody really knows. But trading defensive back Jason Goss to Edmonton to get Chang's rights might prove to be a very good move down the road for Hamilton.

With wicked passing stats from the University of Hawaii - 17,072 passing yards and 117 touchdowns in his stay - earlier this decade, he could definitely succeed in the pass-happy CFL.

But there is still plenty of learning to be done by the young quarterback.

"I see a lot of potential in Timmy," said Hamilton head coach Charlie Taaffe.

"Some things he doesn't quite get, yet. We only have two downs, we don't have three.

"He is a gunslinger. He'd throw the ball 80 yards down field every play if he could.

"What he has got to learn ... you got to get it done in two downs. You got to be more willing to be patient and take the throws that are available - the underneath throws - being in a second and manageable situation.

"He struggles with that a little bit.

"But I think he is a real talent."

The good news is that he has Maas - one of the hardest working football players on the planet - to learn from.

Ironically, he could have learned from Maas a couple of years ago because Chang admits he was close to showing his face to the Eskimos.

"I was thinking of doing a workout (for the Eskimos) at Texas-El Paso - that was two years ago," remembered Chang.

"I never got out there.

"I ended up going to Arizona (with the NFL's Cardinals)."

It has been a rocky road since then, with stops in Detroit and Philadelphia.

But he now faces a clean slate in Hamilton.

In three games with the Ticats this year he is 16-for-34 for 259 passing yards.

SHORT HIT: YOU CAN JUST SENSE THE RELIEF AROUND THE TICATS AFTER WINNING FOR THE FIRST TIME LAST WEEK.

"The Winnipeg game was very much needed," said Taaffe on the 43-22 win. "Football is a game of momentum."

FLAG CENTRAL: HAMILTON HAS BEEN OVER 100 YARDS IN PENALTIES EVERY GAME THIS YEAR. EDMONTON IS AVERAGING 96 YARDS IN PENALTIES PER GAME.

FINISH LINES: ONCE A VERY DANGEROUS WEAPON IN SASKATCHEWAN, COREY HOLMES HAS FALLEN OFF THE RADAR IN HAMILTON.

He has just nine catches this year and just 72 rushing yards.


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