Pierce taking notes

Gerry Moddejonge, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:54 AM ET

EDMONTON - You can’t coach height.

But six-foot-four receiver Ernie Pierce is looking to learn as many lessons as he can when Edmonton Eskimos training camp opens Sunday.

Pierce attended the three-day rookie camp, which wrapped up Friday, after signing as a free agent in May.

It was the 22-year-old’s first pro camp after graduating from Kansas State in 2009, before spending last season without a team to play for.

“Unfortunately, things didn’t work out. I just kept at it, kept working and found a spot,” said Pierce.

“I just had some things go wrong, just didn’t get some opportunities I expected to get.

“You take it, you live with it and just keep going.”

His new opportunity in Edmonton has Pierce back in the game.

“I’m looking to make the squad, it’s not just for fun,” he said.

Pierce is a true rookie at the rookie camp, which is also open to experienced players from other leagues and returning CFLers who saw limited action last season.

But he’s not letting his lack of pro experience get in his way.

“I think I fit in pretty well,” Pierce said. “With availability being open at the X and at the Y (receiver positions), I just want to understand the offence and different positions. You’re virtually used everywhere, as long as you know what you’re doing and understand the offence.”

And he’s using his tall frame to his advantage.

“It gives you more opportunity for jump balls,” Pierce said.

“I don’t get maybe the same calibre of speed as some of the shorter guys, but I’m not slow. I have a lot of positives going for me.”

One bonus is the fact that the Eskimos are known for their highly potent passing offence.

“You have Ricky Ray, the guy who pretty much runs this league as a quarterback,” Pierce said. “And you have Fred Stamps, who the amount of yards that he has is ridiculous, then you had Maurice Mann, who almost did the same thing.”

Not to mention former Eskimos receiver Kelly Campbell making a name for himself with the Eskimos by leading the league with 22.6 yards per reception in 2008.

“And now he’s back in the (National Football) League, so this is definitely the place that’s going to yield results,” said Pierce. “To have a year off involuntarily is different. That had been my first year off.”

He might not have had a number on his back last year, but Pierce never stopped being a football player.

“It was a tough pill to swallow for the first three months, then you just kind of get off the sad horse and start figuring it out and keep working because any day that you take off, someone is working harder than you.”

IN AND OUT: Offensive line

man Clifford Louis had his right arm in a sling and didn’t participate for the second day, while fellow O-liner Alex Lau, an unsigned free agent out of Bishop’s, was also inactive Friday.

Second-year running back Ramonce Taylor left the practice field Friday with what appeared to be a sore ankle, while rookie defensive back Isaiah Gardner went to the sidelines with a strained hamstring.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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