Balancing act for Esks

Con Griwkowsky, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:32 AM ET

EDMONTON - Got a slide rule? Get it out.

You’ll need it to figure out the numbers game the Edmonton Eskimos are running.

Around noon Thursday, the Eskimos announced they had released seven players: import OL Patrick Afif, import DB Willie Amos, non-import long-snapper Taylor Inglis, non-import WR Kevin Challenger, import SB Jamaica Rector, non-import LB Greg Whelan and import LB Frantz Joseph.

“One of the competitive battles occurred at the receiving spot — whether it was import or non-import,” said head coach Richie Hall at Thursday’s availability. “It was a fierce battle from Day 1. There are a couple of good players that won’t be part of our team this year. When you look at Rector and Challenger, that occurred.”

What that means is the Eskimos were able to keep three Canadian receivers — Kamau Peterson, Andrew Nowacki and Andre Talbot — on the active roster. To make it work, pay cuts were involved.

“From a football perspective, we have three starters,” said Hall.

“From their side, they had to do whatever they had to do to be here. In order to be part of something, it’s a give-and-take thing. There’s things those players gave up to be here — whether it was on the football field or off the football field.

“We’re talking whatever ... from a financial perspective, from an unselfish perspective. Everybody wants to play and everybody wants to be a starter. At the same time, you can only start one at a time.”

But wait!

When Hall stood up to speak about the makeup of this year’s team, he cautioned that the picture may not yet be complete.

“We have players that are still players on the football team,” said Hall. “What we had to disclose (to the CFL) was our 46. Our football team is more than 46 players. It’s finalized, but it’s not finalized. From our organization, it’s finalized; from the general public, that will be finalized (Friday).”

There are still 60 players listed on the team’s active roster, so it’s time for a little good, old-fashioned legwork.

All but one of the 14 players who are expected to be with the team but not on the roster can be accounted for.

According to reliable sources, six players will be starting the season on the injured list and the team has filled its quota of seven practice roster players.

Starting the year on the nine-game injured list will be safety Elliott Richardson (wrist), returner Tristan Jackson (shoulder) and kicker Derek Schiavone (unspecified).

On the shelf for the first game of the year will be defensive lineman Dario Romero, defensive back Randee Drew and offensive lineman Aaron Fiacconi.

Tabbed for the practice roster and subject to change are: defensive lineman Adam Braidwood, running back Pascal Fils, wide receiver Tremayne Kirkland, running back Daniel Libre, linebacker Neil Puffer, safety Corbin Sharun and defensive back Rod Williams.

“Now that we have our team assembled, you’re ready to kinda get into it,” said Hall. “Really, we don’t have our Day 1 where we’re prepping for B.C. until next (Tuesday). It’s kind of an extreme. We’ve been off for nearly a week, but you don’t want to burn them out going into their next game. I’m not crazy about it, but it is what it is.”

Will Sharun still be taking No. 1 safety reps when the team gets back to work Friday even though he’s on the practice roster?

Hey, it’s a long week and the kid’s gotta learn at some point.

con.griwkowsky@sunmedia.ca


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