Eskimos cut Lumsden

Injuries have hindered Jesse Lumsden's career in the CFL. (QMI Agency/Laura Pedersen)

Injuries have hindered Jesse Lumsden's career in the CFL. (QMI Agency/Laura Pedersen)

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:57 AM ET

Jesse Lumsden's time with the Edmonton Eskimos lasted slightly longer than a bobsled run.

Everybody has their 15 minutes of fame and, tragically, Lumsden's shoulder would not even allow him that much time here.

When doctors assessed Lumsden's risk of reinjuring his shoulder at somewhere between 30-40% earlier this week, the Esks decided it was a risk not worth carrying.

"That's quite high, coming off the surgery he came off last season," said Eskimos' GM Danny Maciocia. "It's disappointing. It's extremely frustrating for Jesse. The fact is we have a player that's not healthy. Right now, he would not be ready for camp."

Lumsden, the team's highest-profile free agent signing who stood to make a six-figure salary if performance clauses kicked in, was released by the team Wednesday.

"When he got here, everything seemed ready to go," said Maciocia. "Camp went well, two pre-season games went well and 14 minutes into the regular season, that's it."

Lumsden has never been able to live up to his potential. Due to a combination of injuries and NFL aspirations never realized, he never played a full CFL season in his first three years with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Given Lumsden's history, Maciocia knew there was some risk involved and gambled that Lumsden's bad luck would turn into good.

"The moment a player like (Calvin) McCarty or Lumsden goes down, it affects your ratio," said Maciocia.

"That's why we went for a guy like Arkee (Whitlock). We had to protect ourselves."

Even though he had a rough start in his CFL debut, Whitlock settled down and produced 1,293 yards and 12 TD's along the ground and another 392 receiving yards.

Maciocia offered insight into how delicate the early-season situation was at the time.

"To say tailback would have been strictly a Canadian position and not having a contingency plan would have been extremely foolish," said Maciocia, who did not close the door on Lumsden's possible return in the future. "When we broke camp, we had to keep Whitlock around, just in case.

"Do I think Whitlock would have played the second regular-season game vs. Montreal? Probably not. Whitlock came in and, to his credit, he did a great job for us."

Today, Maciocia feels confident Whitlock is a front-line tailback and the one-year experiment of having a Canadian starter is likely done.

"It is now," said Maciocia. "We've got Whitlock and I thought he did a pretty good job playing 16 games for us. Calvin McCarty, we know what he can do. We're definitely going to go with an import, plus Calvin. That's pretty much a foregone conclusion now."

The Esks will also have import running back Ramonce Taylor, who they brought in late last year, when training camp kicks off June 8. Former Pittsburgh Steelers RB Dennis Kennedy has also been added to the training camp roster.

Earlier this week, the Esks had to release defensive back Lenny Williams because he could not get medical clearance.

There's no more cases pending on what had been a lengthy injury list that hit the Eskimos last season.

"That's basically it," said Maciocia, who expects 68 healthy bodies to report to camp. "You don't want to go to camp when you're operating (shorthanded). Going through training camp, you want to be in a position to pick your team and get ready to line up on July 4.

"There shouldn't be any more surprises."

Unless somebody sprains themselves on a huge signing bonus before June 5 team medicals, that is.


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