Showtime for J.R.

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:18 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- The Edmonton Eskimos got a good look at J.R. LaRose in their open tryouts over the off-season.

And now the team's former defensive back is looking to show them a lot more while wearing a different jersey.

LaRose will suit up with the B.C. Lions as they host the Eskimos at Empire Field Sunday at 3 p.m.

A strong showing against his former team will go a long way to landing the 26-year old a spot on the roster -something he hasn't held since losing his starting safety role with the Eskimos after breaking his leg in a game in 2008.

"It's a blessing to be back playing football again," said LaRose. "I'm just very happy and honoured to be able to suit up, especially to suit up against Edmonton.

"That's the first thing I looked at on the schedule when I signed up here. Who can't get up for that? A team that released me and I'm getting an opportunity to play against them."

But LaRose isn't letting the fact the Eskimos let him slip through their fingers become a thorn in his side.

"I'm looking forward to competing against some old teammates and there are no hard feelings, but I'm a competitor and now I'm able to get a hit on some of the guys on special teams. When I get in (on defence) during the game to get a chance to hit some receivers, I'm going to take every opportunity."

But with starter Tad Crawford and backup Jason Arakgi ahead of LaRose on the depth chart, the newcomer knows he must make a name for himself on special teams to earn another shot at a role on defence.

"It all starts on special teams and I like it that way," LaRose said. "I'm starting from ground zero, so I'm building the foundation now and it's a clean slate.

"That's what I really like, that I'm out here and I can really prove to these coaches what I can do and what I'm about. I think I've done that throughout training camp and I have one last preseason game to do it."

LaRose got in on the defence in the fourth quarter in last week's 19-17 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

"When I get out there I'm going to make the best of every opportunity," LaRose said.

That is something he might not have had much of after coming back from his injury, but there is no denying the opportunity he was given as a 21-year-old junior breaking into the CFL in 2005.

"I'm very blessed that Edmonton did give me that opportunity to come out and be able to play in my home town," LaRose said, adding getting overlooked by the Eskimos open tryouts has only given him more motivtion.

"I think they had their mind set on who they wanted and I understand that side of the business. It is what it is, but I'm here now and that's an old chapter in my life."


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