Can't fill Kepley's shoes

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:19 PM ET

He might be following in the footsteps of Dan Kepley, but the Edmonton Eskimos’ new linebackers coach says he’s not trying to fill anyone’s shoes.

Mark Nelson is back in his hometown where he was an assistant coach with the Eskimos from 1992-94.

“It is good to be back home,” said Nelson, Kepley’s replacement following the former coach’s resignation last week. “You don’t fill coach Kepley’s shoes. Dan Kepley, first of all, is a friend, is an excellent person, was a great player and a great coach. Dan Kepley is Dan Kepley. I’m Mark Nelson — we’re different people.”

If there is an adjustment to be made following the resignation of the legendary linebacker and coach, Nelson said it will be quick.

“Football is football,” he said. “This is a new part of the season and I think good things are going to happen.”

But what exactly happened to cause Kepley to resign is the question on many players’ minds.

“As a linebacker, it hurts knowing that a man that’s been here for so long and got his number put up in the Hall of Fame in the CFL and on the Eskimos, whatever choice he made to leave, that was his choice,” said Maurice Lloyd. “As the leader of this linebacker corps, I’m going to make sure that we stay together regardless. We’ve got a wonderful coach that has come in to help us get better. Best wishes to Kep.”

Unfortunately, Lloyd wasn’t able to tell him in person.

“I called him twice, left a message. As a man I called him, not as a player,” Lloyd said. “Anytime that a linebacker corpse got to read through TSN that your position coach left and we don’t get no phone calls, I don’t know what to expect of that.

“We may not have seen eye-to-eye all the time, but one thing about it, I have much respect for him.”


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