Esks look for hidden gems

Gerry Moddejonge, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:41 AM ET

EDMONTON - The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

The Edmonton Eskimos are digging around their own backyard during Saturday’s annual open tryouts from 1-5 p.m. at Clarke Park, where potential players will have a shot at suiting up with the Green and Gold.

“It’s something I thought of about four or five years ago,” said general manager Danny Maciocia.

“We do it just because there’s so much football being played in this province, especially in the city of Edmonton, that we just want to give an opportunity to some of these kids.

“And if we land anybody, well, that’s a bonus.”

Running back Calvin McCarty was scouted at the inaugural local tryout in 2007, followed by linebacker Greg Whelan, safety J.R. LaRose, long-snapper Taylor Inglis and fullback Chris Ciezki – all products of the local junior programs.

Although the number of attendees isn’t known beforehand with it being an open camp where players pay an $80 registration fee, Maciocia said it’s not about the quantity.

“I’m more caught up in seeing if there’s anybody that is more along the lines of a quality football player that can help us out,” he said.

“Just because they’re not south of the border doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t give them a look. And just because they don’t go to the (CFL’s) evaluation camp, doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t get drafted. We just want to give some of them the opportunity to go out there and showcase their ability to play the game.”

The Eskimos coaching staff will be there in its entirety to evaluate the walk-ons, along with those who have been invited, such as Edmonton Wildcats safety and former CIS quarterback Corbin Sharun.

“He’s a kid that came here last year and he fared pretty good,” Maciocia said. “We just wanted to take another look at him to see how far he’s progressed at that position.”

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