Braidwood draws in for Eskimos

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:10 PM ET

It’s been more than two seasons since Adam Braidwood last played a CFL game, but the former first-overall draft pick won’t have to wait any longer.

An 0-4 start to the season has prompted some changes to the starting lineup heading into Friday’s game against the visiting B.C. Lions.

Changes that will include activating Braidwood from the practice roster, where he has spent his entire time since returning from injury that forced him to miss the entire 2008 and 2009 seasons.

“I’m definitely grateful that they’ve given me an opportunity to get some reps,” said Braidwood, whose non-import status has plenty to do with the decision to include him as the Eskimos search for answers.

“Any time you can get Canadians in certain spots, you open up spots for Americans. They bring a lot of depth and it allows teams to do different teams,” Braidwood said.

“It just depends. I don’t make those decisions and I try not to focus on that at all. I just like to think that they try to play the best players.”

And, hopefully, the right combination of imports and non-imports that give the Eskimos the best chance to win.

“I’m starting to get some reps and stuff like that. I don’t know exactly who is going to be starting or what’s going to be going on, but it looks like hopefully I’ll be playing this week, and if that’s the case, I’m going to definitely try to contribute.”

If Tuesday’s practice is any indication, Braidwood will get that chance, after taking repetitions with the first-team defence and will likely be backed up by Queen’s product and fellow non-import Dee Sterling.

“There’s a great chance (of that),” said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall.

“We’ll see how his film was and (how) he went through taking our reps in practice and we’ll see how he feels and how he’s looking.

“Again, we’re looking at what we can do to get better.”

While still officially on the practice roster Tuesday, Braidwood isn’t taking anything for granted, nor is he about to let any opportunity pass him by.

“I treat every week the same: I just try and get ready to play, and if they call my number the day before the game, then I’ll be ready,” he said.

“If they do decide to put me in, I like to think that I bring a certain sense of physicality and I have kind of an old-school attitude.

“A lot of our D-line does. We’ve got a really talented group. Once we get that cohesion and guys start coming into their own … we don’t have, like, a veteran group of guys who have been out there a bunch, guys are hurt and haven’t been playing,” he said.

“Once we come together we definitely have the talent, it’s just a matter of everybody coming together.”

It’s been an uphill battle for Braidwood, whose return to the team has reminded him a lot of what he went through as a rookie four years ago as he attempts to earn back his starting job.

“I definitely love football and I wouldn’t have done what I did to get back here if I didn’t love the game,” he said.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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