Saying goodbye to his twin two-year-old girls in California, Derrick Doggett is hoping to keep his football career alive with the Edmonton Eskimos.
Like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole, the 23-year-old linebacker didn't fit in the NFL puzzle because of his size.
"I am a tweener between an outside linebacker and a safety (in the NFL)," said Doggett, who is listed at six-foot-three and 210 pounds.
After attending NFL mini-camps for Tampa Bay and the New York Giants in May, Doggett believes his size is the reason why he didn't get an invite to a full NFL training camp this summer.
But his size isn't an issue in the CFL. In fact, the Eskimos are very excited about this import prospect.
"We like this kid an awful lot," said Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia. "He comes highly recommended to us by his coaches."
That explains why Doggett has signed a three-year contract with the Eskimos.
On the club's confidential negotiation list before being signed and brought to the city on Tuesday, Doggett will be tried at outside linebacker.
With experience at both outside linebacker positions during a stellar career at Oregon State, the San Diego native could provide critical depth for the Eskimos this fall.
With Siddeeq Shabazz moving from weak-side linebacker to safety in the most recent game, Edmonton only had five linebackers - including raw rookie Tim St. Pierre - to cover three positions last Thursday night.
Doggett will be on the practice field today with the Esks preparing for the Labour Day clash in Calgary.
Praised at Oregon State for being able to cover defenders across the field, he recorded a stunning 93 tackles in his 2007 senior college season.
On top of that, he also led the Beavers with four interceptions last year for 115 return yards.
A three-time PAC second-team honouree, Doggett played in the East-West Shrine game in Houston this winter.
But in an effort to get noticed by NFL scouts, he played at strong safety in that all-star game.
Regarded as an excellent athlete, he could also eventually play a key role on the Esks' special teams units. Doggett's collegiate resume shows four blocked kicks.
"I (am) nervous, excited, just anxious to get out there to show what I can do," said Doggett. "I am a speed linebacker and I heard in this league it is a lot of passing and I would fit perfect in the schemes. So, I think my game will be perfect in the CFL."
FINISH LINES: THE ESKIMOS ACTUALLY CONTACTED DOGGETT LAST WEEK IN SAN DIEGO, WHICH ISN'T SURPRISING BECAUSE THAT IS WHEN IT BECAME CLEAR SHABAZZ WAS MOVING TO A NEW POSITION ... DOGGETT IS THE THIRD IMPORT LINEBACKER TO JOIN THE CLUB SINCE TRAINING CAMP.
Shonda Faulkner was cut in early July after being knocked out in his first practice.
Trey Young is still with the club, but is dealing with an ankle problem ... Former Eskimo assistant coach Greg Newhouse coached Doggett at Oregon State.