Esks hope camaraderie pays off

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:12 PM ET

It takes an outsider to realize just how close-knit the Edmonton Eskimos defensive line is — but they don’t remain outsiders for long.

Defensive-line coach Mike Walker is making his return to the organization he finished his all-star-studded playing career with in 1991.

“Talk about walking into a tight-knit group,” Walker said. “They already hang together, they do everything together, they eat together.”

Around this table, his place would be the one with the big bowl of porridge.

“I’d probably be the dad, as old as I am,” Walker said of his D-line family, which includes starting defensive ends Greg Peach and Kai Ellis, and is anchored by returning defensive tackle and CFL/NFL veteran Dario Romero, who is coming off an injury-shortened season after tearing his biceps late last year.

The family ties run deep with Walker, whose son played at Eastern Washington, along with Romero and Peach.

“My son Marcus and Greg Peach are best friends, how ironic is that?” said Walker, who found out he was a grandpa for the second time after his six-pound, nine-ounce grandson, Amare Michael Walker, was born Wednesday at 9:45 a.m.

Kenneth Pettway is a new face on the Eskimos D-line, who also has a new family member of his own.

Born and raised in Houston, he lives there with his wife Victoria and their five-month-old daughter Anneliesse Eryn, who are visiting him on Friday.

“This is her first football season,” Pettway said. “I’m so excited, I can’t wait for them to get here.”

Until then, his closest family is his new linemates.

“We’re real family-oriented guys, we’re always together on and off the field,” Pettway said. “We spend a lot of time together. Just doing that, getting that close just makes it better on the field when you’re that close off the field.”

Walker said the more family and football mix, the better.

“Camaraderie always builds champions and they’re already on the road,” Walker said. “I just want to be the equalizer.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos