EDMONTON - Snap. There goes a football career.
Local product Taylor Inglis, who’s been handling the Edmonton Eskimos long-snapping duties the past five seasons, found himself with a pink slip Thursday.
Linebacker Tim St. Pierre has been tabbed the new long-snapper and Neil Puffer, who had mixed reviews in Vancouver Sunday, has been designated his backup.
St. Pierre has missed the bulk of training camp with a wonky knee, but the new long-snapper was taken off the disabled list Thursday and will be ready when the team kicks off its CFL season at home against the B.C. Lions on July 4.
Head coach Richie Hall suggested the limited CFL roster did not allow a one-role specialist like Inglis and accentuated that view by placing Puffer on the practice roster.
“One of the things we wanted to do this season is live outside the box,” said Hall. “When you look at that position, Taylor did an outstanding job for us last year. At the same time, how can we get better, challenge and be more athletic?
“Going with somebody like Tim St. Pierre, he gives us that ability. He’s a linebacker and linebackers are the guys who dominate your special teams. It gives us another opportunity to get another all-around special teams player on the field.”
Hall revealed that a shortage of linebacker depth was something he noticed when he first took the head coaching job.
“What can we do to get more linebacker-type bodies, because those are your special teams players,” said Hall.
In the end, it proved out to be a versatility issue.
“Every player that’s not here probably, to some degree, figures he didn’t get a fair shot,” said Hall. “What is fair? Fair to me is not equal. Fair is given an opportunity to go out there and perform. The reality is the coaches make the final decision. Taylor went out there and did a good job, gave himself a chance.
“We want to be versatile. With our rosters, the more you can do, the better.”