Kickin' around options

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

Hayden Epstein has gone out one door.

And Tony Yelk has come through the other door.

The Edmonton Eskimos released Epstein -- an import punter/kicker -- yesterday, marking the second time he has been cut by the club in his career.

However, Yelk has been signed to a two-year contract, Sun Media has learned.

The 26-year-old import can handle all three kicking chores -- field goals, kickoffs and punting -- but is likely strongest at putting the ball through the uprights.

The Wisconsin native has spent time in the Jacksonville Jaguars camp in his short career but signed with the Green and Gold after an impressive workout in Orlando last month.

"We had three kickers that we took to Orlando with us (last month) and we had all three of them work out for us and we came out of the camp with the mindset that we were only going to bring one to training camp to compete with (Warren) Kean and (Rob) Pikula," said Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia.

Epstein failed at the audition while Yelk caught Maciocia's eye.

However, Yelk faces an uphill battle because of his American citizenship.

Kean and Pikula are non-imports -- and CFL clubs prefer to have Canadians handle the kicking chores, leaving an import spot for a playmaker on offence or defence.

Edmonton is trying to replace Sean Fleming, who retired last fall after a very successful career.

Yelk attended Iowa State and had a cup of coffee with the Atlanta Falcons on their practice squad in 2006 -- but has never played an NFL game.

FINISH LINES: Edmonton also released slotback Eric Newman and non-import linebacker Scott Mennie yesterday.

Mennie became expendable when long-snapper Taylor Inglis re-signed with the club on the weekend.

ALS PENALIZED: The Montreal Alouettes' loss has become the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' gain.

The CFL announced the Alouettes exceeded last year's $4.05-million cap by $108,285 and have been fined $116,570 as a result.

And because Montreal was more than $100,000 over, it will also lose the fourth overall selection in tomorrow's Canadian college draft.


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