Tremayne Kirkland’s rookie CFL season has been a roller-coaster ride so far.
Placed on the Edmonton Eskimos practice roster following a 25-10 loss to the B.C. Lions in the season opener, Kirkland was released two weeks later on July 20 while suffering from a pulled groin.
But a shoulder injury to all-star slotback Fred Stamps last Friday had the Eskimos scrambling for a replacement body in the receiving corps as the depth chart gets rearranged to try and replace the team’s leading pass catcher.
There was speculation that the Eskimos were looking to bring in fellow former Eskimos receiver Efrem Hill, who was released July 13.
“A big thing is, Stamps is one of our vertical threats and that really is the biggest reason,” said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall. “Efrem did a great job, great receiver. But we wanted some more vertical push and that’s one of the assets that Tremayne has, is getting the ball up the field.”
The 26-year-old Portland State product is once again reunited with his former college coach and Eskimo offensive co-ordinator Kevin Strasser.
But that doesn’t always help the situation.
“It helps and hurts, I don’t mean as far as playing time or anything like that. Just as far as he knows my good and my bad habits,” Kirkland said. “Being able to talk with him man to man behind closed doors and joke around is definitely a help.”
Kirkland got the call from the Eskimos on Monday.
“I called my parents first, talked to my daughter and let her know even though she didn’t understand a word I was saying about football,” said Kirkland, whose daughter, Talyn, is five years old. “I couldn’t even put it into words.
“It was a dream come true to come here the first time, a nightmare to leave and to have an opportunity to make up for my mistakes — I couldn’t ask for more.”