Eskimos tidy up roster

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:00 PM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos didn't wait for any snow to melt before starting some spring cleaning.

The team announced the release of a handful of import players in an effort to get their roster in order for training camp. Topping the list of those dismissed is 10-year CFL veteran Kelly Malveaux.

The defensive back had 50 tackles, four pass knockdowns, a pair of interceptions and a forced fumble to go along with a tackle for a loss during 16 games last season.

"It's tough to let anybody go," said Eskimos general manager Danny Maciocia, who previously acquired all-star defensive back Chris Thompson in a trade last week. "In the next few weeks we'll make other announcements as far as guys we've acquired south of the border, so you have to make room.

"And (Malveaux) was a big ticket."

The off-season is very much a numbers game for Maciocia, whose math meant a ticket out of town for the 33-year-old.

"You've got to factor in age, you've got to factor in salary, you've got to factor in, basically, the cap," Maciocia said. "These are all things that we tried to take a good, hard look at before making the moves that we made (Thursday)."

Also released were offensive lineman Garrick Jones, defensive tackle Jerome Haywood and defensive backs Lamar Herron and Bradley Robinson.

"Some of these guys are getting up there in age, some of them on the wrong side of 30, so you've got to make those kinds of decisions.

"Even Garrick Jones, he was a big ticket, too," Maciocia said of the left tackle who spent the entire 2009 season on the nine-game injured list. "He didn't play a game for us, but we still had to pay him."

Both Jones and Haywood turn 32 this year.

Haywood's short stint in Edmonton came on the heels of a biceps injury to all-star D-lineman Dario Romero.

An eight-year CFL veteran, Haywood started the last five games of the season where he made seven tackles, two sacks, a pass knockdown and a tackle for a loss.

Although he filled in admirably, he was meant as more of a band-aid than a long-term solution, Maciocia said.

"He was more of a stop-gap," Maciocia said. "Basically, we tried to find a guy with experience that was out there at that point in time that could take over for Dario.

"But Dario's back, Dario is going to be good to go."

Robinson and Herron both dealt with injuries last season. Herron played in the first three games of his rookie CFL campaign before being sent home early, while Robinson capped off two seasons with the Eskimos with 19 tackles, four interceptions, two pass knockdowns and a tackle for a loss.

Although training camp doesn't begin until rookies and quarterbacks report on June 2, before main camp opens June 6, it wouldn't make sense to draw out the release process.

"You don't want to do that," Maciocia said. "First of all, it's not a healthy situation for the club. And for the player, you don't want to cut him right prior to going to camp because it doesn't give them a chance to get employment elsewhere."


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