Esks beat the bushes

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:14 AM ET

Football fans in Edmonton are known to bleed Green and Gold.

But it’s the fresh blood the Eskimos were interested in Sunday when they held their annual open tryouts at Clarke Park.

Past years have discovered running back Calvin McCarty, linebacker Greg Whelan, safety J.R. LaRose, long-snapper Taylor Inglis and fullback Chris Ciezki.

“I think this one’s going to be a winner also,” said Eskimos general manager Danny Maciocia. “There’s a few guys out here that we’ve had our eye on for the last little while that we wanted to see come out here and compete.

“There’s also a couple of others that are draft-eligible, so we’ll keep an eye on them too at the same time and see how it all pans out. But this one could be another interesting one.”

Especially with the amount of local junior products from the Edmonton Huskies and Edmonton Wildcats who were among the nearly three-dozen hopefuls in attendance.

“Junior football in Western Canada is as good as you’re going to come across,” Maciocia said. “They’ve developed players over the years, they’ve graduated some to the pro ranks, some have gone on to play university football and then been drafted, so football in Edmonton is alive and kicking and we’re reaping the benefits.”

One familiar face belonged to former Eskimos safety J.R. Larose, a local junior product who was released last year following a leg injury.

“He had that rod put in and that takes a fair amount of time to heal properly and get back out there and resume what he does best, which is patrol centre field,” Maciocia said. “He’s been through a few drills, I think he’s got some of it back.

“Now we’ll take a look at our roster moving forward with the (May 2) Canadian draft and then determine whether there’s a spot for him or not.”

gerry.moddejonge


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