No deal for Jesse

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:48 AM ET

Danny Maciocia didn't want to pay the price to get Jesse Lumsden.

The Edmonton Eskimos head coach didn't acquire the star running back from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats before yesterday's CFL trade deadline because Hamilton's demands were too high.

Maciocia isn't commenting on the names of the players the Ticats wanted in return for Lumsden, but Sun Media has learned Hamilton wanted a combination of players from Edmonton's young receiving unit and offensive line.

In fact, Sun Media has learned the price was as high as two or three players for Lumsden, who is set to be a free agent at the end of this year.

Talks to get Lumsden to Edmonton continued up to yesterday's 2 p.m. MT trade deadline.

So, the Esks will play the B.C. Lions tomorrow night in Vancouver (8:30 p.m. MT, TSN, CHED) with non-import Calvin McCarty at running back.

Rookie AJ Harris seems close to returning from an MCL sprain but, like McCarty, he's relatively unproven as a starting tailback in the CFL.

"All I know is that we are 8-6 with the players we've got, so that can't be too bad.

"We are two points out (of first place). We are just going to see it through," said Maciocia.

Very careful with his words to the media yesterday, Maciocia made it clear he is not willing to part with his young core of players that is gaining valuable experience.

"This organization has done an outstanding job of trying to build (young talent)," said Maciocia.

"It wasn't a typical off-season. I am not even going to tell you how many places we have been and how many players we have worked out.

"We are not going to give up the core or the nucleus of our football team for five or six games or seven (games for a rental player).

"There is a bright future here.

"We still feel we are a pretty good football team. We are not going to tear it apart for short term success."

Lumsden is an enticing player because of his non-import status, 7.0-yard average per carry and ability to outrun defensive players on breakaway runs.

Edmonton doesn't have that complete package with one player right now.

If the club was in a desperation mode to make the playoffs for the first time in three years, then maybe Maciocia might have pulled the trigger with Hamilton general manager Bob O'Billovich to make the trade.

But one more loss by the Toronto Argos or one more Edmonton win puts the Esks in the post-season with three weeks left in the regular season.

Now the clock ticks to the opening of the free-agent market in February, when Lumsden could be one of the most coveted players.

The Eskimos will surely take another run at him at that point - and they won't have to give up a single roster player to get him.


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