Shabazz passes on the NFL

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:04 AM ET

Job security with the Edmonton Eskimos has lured Siddeeq Shabazz back for another season.

It took nearly two months for him to decide, but the talented linebacker has decided to forgo a chance at the NFL and return to the Green and Gold for a second season.

"The main reason was for my family's sake. The sure thing is becoming more of a requirement because I have a family," Shabazz reasoned.

"I have two kids and we have a baby on the way in April. Security is the biggest thing.

"The NFL was a roller-coaster ride for me and my family that at this point I wasn't ready to get back on."

In the option year of his CFL contract, the 26-year-old import could have escaped to the NFL this winter.

The world's top football league is no stranger to Shabazz as he spent time with four different NFL teams earlier this decade. He admits his agent recently heard from a couple of NFL clubs, but the idea of going to training camp south of the border without any assurances of a job isn't that appealing.

"I didn't want to put myself out there (in the NFL) when I had something good in Edmonton," Shabazz said.

The news of Shabazz returning to the Eskimos becomes even more important with the sudden announcement of A.J. Gass retiring.

"I am ecstatic. I am going to do cartwheels as soon as I get out of the car," cracked coach Danny Maciocia before getting more serious.

"I am very happy. Obviously, he is an impact football player, someone that I think will be so much better due to the fact that he has experienced a rookie season in the CFL."

One of the top three defensive players for the Esks last season, Shabazz led the club with 78 tackles in 2007, while chipping in 17 special teams tackles.

His rookie campaign at weak-side linebacker was so good that he made some fans forget the departure of veteran Singor Mobley.

SHORT YARDAGE ...

With Jason Maas back in the fold and on the quarterback depth chart, speculation about a possible trade of Steven Jyles is well underway.

But Jyles doesn't want to leave the Eskimos.

"I definitely want to come back to camp (with the Eskimos). I like Edmonton. I love being there," said Jyles from his off-season home in Louisiana. "I have goals and things I want to accomplish in Edmonton."

Danny Maciocia will only say he expects to have four pivots at training camp.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders were apparently interested in Jyles last year and could very well renew that interest if Kerry Joseph signs with the New Orleans Saints.

FINISH LINES ...

The Esks released non-import LB Rob Hitchcock, 37. He was added late in the season when the club was short of bodies ... At the moment, Edmonton doesn't seem to have any interest in RB Corey Holmes, who was released by Saskatchewan this week.


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