EDMONTON - The Edmonton Eskimos have their newest safety safely under contract.
Announced Friday, Saleem Borhot signed on for three years plus an optional fourth to seal the deal on the Eskimos' 12th overall draft choice in 2010.
“I had a couple contracts brought to me from my agent (Mark Maren), but really he did all the work,” Borhot said in a phone interview from Halifax, N.S., where he finished his fourth year with the St. Mary’s Huskies before becoming the top draft selection from the AUS Conference. “When it was all said and done, I got it in the mail, signed it and sent it back.”
And he will follow suit in a couple of weeks to be here in time for rookie camp, which opens on June 2.
It will be a homecoming of sorts for the Albertan, who was born and raised in Calgary and is looking forward to playing back in his own province.
“The Eskimos franchise is such a good franchise, I am so excited just to be a part of it,” said Borhot, adding he wasn’t as concerned with the length of his contract as he is to get things underway with his new team. “I just wanted to get that out of the way and get ready to get on the field and play with my new teammates.”
Borhot said ending up in a green and gold CFL jersey didn’t come as a surprise in the May 2 draft, after working out for the entire Eskimos coaching staff at open tryouts at Clarke Park a week earlier.
“They had me fly out for that workout, so I definitely thought that Edmonton was a possibility and more than likely my new home,” said Borhot, whom the Eskimos traded their 19th and 27th overall selections to the Hamilton Tiger-cats in order to get earlier in the second round. “The draft day was more of a roller-coaster than anything. I thought I was going to three different places in a matter of 10 minutes.”
In the end, he landed in Edmonton where the safety position was left vacant by the retirement announcement of former starter Scott Gordon that same day.
“I knew before it was even released because our D-back coach here (Devin Murphy) played with Scott Gordon in high school, so they are friends and I guess Scotty told him that he was planning on retiring,” said Borhot. “So that was another reason why I wanted to come to Edmonton so bad is I just realized there is a good opportunity there.
“I feel like I could come in there and be a guy who is ready to compete immediately. Whether or not I’m better than what they have there is a question that needs to be answered.”
Starter or not, Borhot will only improve under the guidance of Eskimos head coach and defensive co-ordinator Richie Hall, who was an all-star CFL defensive back in his own playing days.
“It is a dream come true to make the CFL, it didn’t matter what team it was,” Borhot said. “The opportunity to play for such a great coach – possibly a Hall of Fame coach – I couldn’t ask for much more.”