EDMONTON - They will have to wait until the regular season begins before they get a chance to prove they’re the best.
But for now, the Edmonton Eskimos can easily boast they’re the most photogenic team in the league.
The Eskimos added running back Daniel Libre to their training camp roster, who appeared on the cover of EA Sports NCAA Football 2010 video game following his senior year at the University of Hawaii.
That makes it consecutive seasons the Eskimos have welcomed a cover boy into their ranks.
“That’s news to me,” said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall. “Who’s the other one?”
Appearing on the cover of the same game’s 2008 edition, quarterback Jared Zabransky, signed with the Eskimos last year.
“Oh yeah, I forgot about that,” Hall shrugged.
Zabransky earned his cover honours for leading the charge in an MVP performance at the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, when his Boise State Broncos defeated the heavily favoured Oklahoma Sooners, 43-42, in overtime.
But Libre was a little more surprised to hear he was considered the NCAA’s poster boy for 2010.
“I have no idea (how it happened),” Libre said. “We finished the season and then I got an e-mail from the guys saying that they had entered me on the cover. They voted on it to see who would be on the next NCAA cover.”
Then again, in 2007, the Hawaii Warriors were one game away from the first undefeated season in school history, eventually falling 41-10 to Louisiana in the Sugar Bowl.
They still managed to win their third-ever Western Athletic Conference with a victory over the defending-champion Broncos.
“I only played four games, I was redshirting and I had a lot of breakout games,” said Libre.
“Then coming into ’08 I was pretty much the starter and expected to carry the team in a sense, as far as running backs went.”
After an unsuccessful application for another year of eligibility to play football in 2009, Libre continued with school and trained for his pro day.
“I didn’t go to pro day after my ’08 season, I waited to graduate,” he said. “It kind of messed me up in the end in that I didn’t really enter the draft, but I was entered in the draft.
“A lot of people just thought I fell off the map and gave football up.”
While it’s not off the map, Edmonton is a long way from home for the Holuala, Hawaii, native.
Although he only just arrived, participating in his first day of training camp on Tuesday, Libre realized one difference between Edmonton’s summer and the tropical climate he’s used to.
“Um, it’s cold,” said Libre, who will have to swap his surfboard for a snowboard.
“The lady on the plane told me it gets like 30 below. I’m really not ready for that, I have summer clothes packed in my luggage.
“I mean, I’m from Hawaii, so it’s a pretty big culture shock right now, but I like it.”