Curtain falls on Abdullah

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

The Rahim Abdullah-Edmonton Eskimo soap opera is finally over.

With a lawyer involved and an incredibly frustrated head coach, the saga had more intrigue than many Eskimo plays on the field.

But the last chapter has been written because the Eskimos officially released the defensive end yesterday.

After sending Abdullah home with pay in the aftermath of last Friday's loss to the Calgary Stampeders but holding him hostage in the football world - by refusing to release his rights - Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia had a change of heart from that original decision last Saturday.

"I am not going to kid you - you can't trade him," said Maciocia.

"So, I just felt like holding on to him.

"And (yesterday), woke up, and chose to release him."

What the Eskimo organization didn't reveal is that Abdullah tried to attend practice on Tuesday and had hired a lawyer.

Maciocia didn't want Abdullah around the club anymore because of poor defensive play and a lack of discipline on the field - highlighted by an unnecessary roughness penalty on Friday.

What Abdullah wanted was his outright release.

"I was asking him (my lawyer) to basically get my release," remarked Abdullah.

"He (Maciocia) didn't want me at the locker-room and practice.

"But he wasn't going to release me.

"I didn't understand that.

"If you don't want me to play for your team, then why would you just hold me in limbo?"

On the lawyer's advice, Abdullah showed up for team meetings on Tuesday morning.

"I didn't want them to say I missed a meeting and I was suspended," continued Abdullah.

"My lawyer told me I had to go to practice and if they tell me to leave then leave and we can go from there."

According to Abdullah, Eskimo athletic therapist T.D. Forss told him to leave Tuesday.

Abdullah's lawyer contacted the Eskimos on Tuesday - and by Wednesday afternoon, the D-lineman was pleased to be able to shop his services to other CFL clubs.

But Maciocia is still steamed over the entire Abdullah situation.

"I know there has been a lot that has been said and we have been referred to as an organization that is classless," said Maciocia.

"The fact of the matter is there were a lot of people that took responsibility for what took place last game on that field.

"He wasn't one of them.

"It extends itself beyond the play which we gave them an opportunity to keep a drive alive.

"It is losing contain, it is not playing the run.

"And it has been going on for the last few weeks.

"And I have pulled him aside and I have spoken to him. But clearly, I wasn't able to get the message across.

"And that is all I am going to say about it because I just wasted 60 seconds of my precious time and your precious time talking about someone that we don't want around this place anymore."

Maciocia is also frustrated by the fact his club probably would have left Abdullah on the free-agent market this spring if regular starting defensive end Brandon Guillory hadn't suffered a spinal cord contusion in the pre-season.

Guillory will spend the entire year on the injured list - and might never play another down for the Eskimos in his career.

FINISH LINES: DUE TO CFL RULES, THE ESKIMOS HAVE TO PAY ABDULLAH THE REST OF HIS CONTRACT FOR THIS YEAR BECAUSE HE'S AN ESTABLISHED VETERAN WHO PLAYED INTO SEPTEMBER. IRONICALLY, IF ANOTHER TEAM SIGNS HIM THIS FALL, HE WILL BE ABLE TO COLLECT TWO SALARIES THE REST OF THE YEAR.


Videos

Photos