Lining up for hurt

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:13 AM ET

He's making it look easy, although defensive end Fred Perry was quick to remind everyone it was only a drill.

Yet watching him blow around offensive linemen yesterday at Edmonton Eskimos training camp, it looks as though the eight-year veteran is ready to terrorize opposing quarterbacks.

ESKS QB'S SAFE

It's a good thing he's not allowed to touch the Eskimos quarterback contingent in camp.

"It was only a drill and it's going to be different when you're in a game and you get that guy in the alley," Perry said. "You have to think more of what you're going to do and what kind of move you're going to make. But I feel good, I always feel comfortable."

Perry was acquired by the Eskimos from the Saskatchewan Roughriders this off-season in a trade that sent quarterback Steven Jyles the other way.

It's his second stint in Edmonton having played with the Eskimos in 2001.

"I feel good about coming back here," Perry said. "This is where it all started for me as far as rising up and becoming a better player. It feels good coming back and seeing that some people still remember you."

That season Perry played 10 games before suffering a neck injury. He registered 30 tackles and three sacks in his previous stint with the Eskimos.

The following year he signed a free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons, where he spent the season on injured reserve after getting hurt in an exhibition game.

"Fred is a seasoned veteran, he's been around the block and this is certainly not his first rodeo," said Eskimos defensive line coach Don Wnek. "It shows. He interacts well with the young players. His work ethic is just fabulous. He works on his game and so far we're expecting big things from him this year."

Last season, Perry led the Roughriders with 70 tackles, eight sacks and three fumble recoveries. He earned his first Grey Cup ring in his seventh year in the league.

The native of Fort Smith, Arkansas, also had stints in Toronto and Ottawa before signing with the Roughriders three years ago, the last two being named a CFL all-star.

"When I first heard I got traded, I had mixed feelings. I was happy that I was coming back to Edmonton, but playing with those guys for so long in Regina, we were like family," Perry said. "But a lot of people were saying it was time for me to move on anyway, so I look at it as everything happens for a reason and that's the reason why it (the trade) happened. The time had come for me to win a Grey Cup and I got it, so I had to move on."

Perry, 33, had the most productive season of his career last year with the Roughriders. He's projected to start at left defensive end with Brandon Guillory on the other side.

Adam Braidwood, who started at the end spot last season, has been moved inside to defensive tackle.

"We have stuff that we have designed for him (Perry) there is no doubt," said Wnek. "He's going to be a weapon for us. We're going to use him and we think he's going to be able to disrupt some offences."

PROVEN WINNER

A proven winner, the Eskimos are counting on Perry to help improve the team's sack total from last season and on the 509 points they gave up defensively last season - third worst in the league.

"The more Grey Cup rings we have around here, the better we're going to be," Wnek said. "They know what it takes to get there and win a championship. Fred fits into that category."


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