Esks go big

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:11 PM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos are bringing in their big gun.

At six-foot-seven and 335 pounds, Jeremy Parquet is the biggest player on the roster.

But size isn’t the only thing he brings to an offensive line that was sorely outworked last week against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He has championship experience.

Parquet is replacing Joe McGrath at right tackle in an attempt to provide more protection for Ricky Ray, who was sacked three times on the team’s opening three drives of the game.

“I’m excited about it, my opportunity has come. It’s here, so I’ve got to go out there and do my best and help my team get a win,” said Parquet, who won the Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008 and the UFL championship with the Las Vegas Locos last year.

“I’ve just been staying ready, like I was taught. If you stay ready, when the time comes you don’t have to worry about pressing to get ready.”

Although McGrath was part of an offensive line that played the entire 2009 regular season together without missing a single snap due to injury, the Eskimos went as far as altering their ratio formula to get another import on their offensive line — a position normally reserved for non-import players in the CFL.

“It’s exciting because being 28 years old and on the sidelines, that ain’t cool,” said Parquet, who has a Super Bowl ring but didn’t get a chance to get on the field to help the Steelers win it. “I didn’t really have a good look.”

And now that he has become part of the Eskimos’ answer to putting a halt to a four-game losing skid, Parquet isn’t shying away from carrying the added pressure on his massive shoulders.

“Playing O-line, man, we don’t get much credit either way it goes. The only time our name’s called is if it’s bad, so I just approach it like anything else,” he said. “A little tenacity and a hunger to go out there and just play ball.”


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