Esks bring back Epstein

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:31 AM ET

Three years after being cut by the Edmonton Eskimos, Hayden Epstein is being given a second chance.

The Green and Gold signed the import punter/kicker yesterday, marking one of the most curious transactions in the last few seasons.

"When you look south of the border and try to find someone that can do all three (punting, field goals and kickoffs) - like a Damon Duval - they are few and far apart," said Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia.

Epstein played four games for the Eskimos in 2005, making eight of 12 field goals and averaging 41 yards per punt.

The most important statistic, though, is the fact Epstein hasn't played a regular-season game at any football level since being cut by the Green and Gold.

"We are in February and I know he has been working out," countered Maciocia. "He has got a few months to regain that groove that he normally has. And then he comes to training camp he (gets) three weeks and two preseason games. That is ample time for him to get it right."

Kicking a few times a week near his New York home, Epstein isn't worried about his long layoff from real action.

"I don't think I will be rusty at all come time for the season," said the 27-year-old, who has recently been working with a home building company.

Epstein joins non-import Warren Kean in the battle to replace retired Sean Fleming.

The Esks have at least one more unidentified import kicker currently under contract.

FINISH LINES ...

Fleming is still on the Esks' roster but isn't expected to come out of retirement.


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