WINNIPEG - Random thoughts and observations as the Edmonton Eskimos play their first post-season game today since the 2005 Grey Cup ...
- If Jerome Haywood plays a major factor in today's East Division semifinal playoff game (11 a.m. MT, TSN, CHED) between Edmonton and Winnipeg, it will be an interesting storyline.
The Eskimos were interested in signing Haywood on the free-agent market in the winter of 2007, but couldn't get a deal done.
The defensive tackle signed in Winnipeg and produced 41 defensive tackles and three sacks this year.
"They didn't want to pay me what I was worth," said Haywood on why he didn't come to Eskimoland.
But with Haywood a free agent at the end of this year, will the Eskimos come calling again to fix a defensive line that has been a merry-go-round this year?
- The entire CFL head office should have come to Winnipeg yesterday to see the ridiculous state of Canad Inns Stadium.
With a large media horde gathered in the official press room underneath the grandstand, there were five different leaks in the roof.
With water dripping everywhere, a huge garbage can in the middle of the floor and a large heater blowing from the roof, players openly criticized the facility.
Both head coaches were forced to stand at a fancy podium and address the media in the deplorable room.
By the time Danny Maciocia rolled in, you could hear shoes squishing water on the carpet.
If league executives witnessed the scene, the lobby effort for a new stadium in this city would surely increase.
"It just shows the need for a new facility," said someone in the Bomber organization. "It's 2008, it's time to work (in something) adequate."
There is plenty of talk of a new stadium coming in Winnipeg but nothing is confirmed.
- AJ Harris heard the rumblings of the Eskimos being interested in Jesse Lumsden at the trade deadline.
It's fair to say Harris enters today's game with an uncertain future with the Eskimos.
If the rookie running back becomes a major factor in the playoffs his stock rises.
It's interesting to note that Harris and Lumsden competed at the Washington Redskins training camp in 2006.
The pair could be together next spring at training camp in Edmonton.
But in today's game, Harris is not going to be worried about the weather conditions.
An Illinois native, he has played in worse.
"I have played in places where there are six inches of mud and I have played in snow games when it is freezing," said Harris. "All spring ball at (the University of) Northern (Illinois) is absolutely freezing. Everything is frozen. Half the time you can't even get tackled because you will get cut up from the ice on the field. So this doesn't faze me."
The forecast for today calls for a few flurries and a brisk north wind at 30 km/h.
Although the high is minus-three, it will feel like minus-11.
- Winnipeg offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte got Eric Taylor's licence plate from their last meeting.
"Taylor's the guy who got me last game and gave me a concussion so I definitely have to make sure I get a shot back on him, for sure," said LaBatte, who was talking and laughing at the same time.
LaBatte missed a game and a half courtesy of Taylor.