Brothers in line

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

John Comiskey has a warning for every opposing defensive line in the CFL.

"We are going to have a heck of an O-line," said the newest member of the Edmonton Eskimos.

"I'm looking forward to bringing the Grey Cup back (to Edmonton)."

And with that, the 27-year-old non-import offensive lineman made his first impression as an Eskimo after getting dealt from the archrival Calgary Stampeders yesterday morning.

BLOCKBUSTER

Comiskey is the most recognizable name in the blockbuster deal at yesterday's draft.

But the deal also unites the Comiskey brothers - as older sibling Dan is the Esks' top offensive lineman.

"It's a dream come true," said Dan, a 12-year CFL vet and arguably the top left guard in the league.

"(Being able to play with John) brings back my youth a lot."

If that is the case, the Esks are going to be much improved in front of franchise quarterback Ricky Ray.

After pulling off the trade, Danny Maciocia admitted he has been trying to get John for four months but had always struck out.

John is a three-year CFL veteran with a mean streak.

Trained by his older brother, John brings a much-needed nasty edge to the trenches.

"I play the game with a passion and you have to punish people," he remarked.

But the natural centre was not in the Stamps longterm plans under new head coach and GM John Hufnagel.

"It's not shocking to me," said John on the trade.

Injuries last year - a nerve problem in his shoulder - limited his time on the field to just 13 regular-season games.

"(But) I'm ready to roll," he stated.

"We're going to have an interesting pre-season game in Calgary."

The Stampeders certainly don't seem too concerned over losing John.

"We lose John, who was a good player but was hurt most of last year. You worry about those injuries and it being something that's going to continue on," said Calgary director of player personnel Jim Barker.

Word out of Calgary suggests John is dealing with a chronic knee problem.

But he disputes that statement, saying he has never missed a game because of a knee problem.

"I'm healthy, agile and flexible," replied the six-foot-four, 289 pounder.

"For a 300-pounder, you are not going to get better bang for a buck."

The trade makes the offensive line battles at training camp even more intriguing.

Dan is guaranteed the left guard spot.

Maciocia also revealed yesterday that the line will almost certainly feature one import and four non-imports.

"It's 99.9% sure we will play four (non-imports). Garrick Jones (an import) is a pretty good football player," said the coach.

Maciocia also wants every O-line starter - with the exception of Dan - to be able to play multiple positions.

So, with Dan and Jones seemingly guaranteed starting spots, that leaves three openings. John can play centre and both guard positions.

The Saskatchewan native started at centre in 2006 and 2007 for the Stamps.

That leaves six other CFL O-line starters - Joe McGrath, Tim Bakker, Rhett McLane, Aaron Fiacconi, Raleigh Roundtree and Patrick Kabongo - apparently coming to Edmonton's training camp next month.

Fabio Filice and Terriss Paliwoda are also apparently on the invite list to camp.

NEVER ENOUGH

But Maciocia learned last year that you can never have too much depth in front of Ray.

"I think Ricky is probably feeling a little bit better today knowing that we have got another tough SOB on the offensive line that is going to watch his back," Maciocia quipped.

FINISH LINES: After watching A.J. Gass throw his helmet down the field last year, John isn't concerned about working with the Esks' new assistant coach.

"Neither of us had a grudge," said John.


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