Esks' Campbell excelling in new role

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:27 PM ET

He made a name for himself in the CFL as a receiver, but Kelly Campbell is emerging as a new weapon on special teams for the Edmonton Eskimos.

Campbell, who led the CFL as a rookie in 2008 with 22.6 yards per reception, is second among Eskimos receivers this year with 40 catches for 539 yards.

But it is his productivity on special teams this season where he is truly shining, leading the team with an average of 25.6 yards per kick return and 27 yards per punt return.

He had a breakout game last week against the Calgary Stampeders, earning CFL special teams player of the week honours despite the 56-15 loss.

"The return game is something I've always loved to do. When the opportunity came for me to step up and make plays, like I tell the coaches: the more you can do, I'm here for you whatever I can do," said Campbell, who returned five kickoffs for 141 yards and five punts for 162 yards and a touchdown.

He almost had another touchdown, but was tripped up by punter Burke Dales with no one else to beat.

"That were some opportunities where we missed out, where we could have had a couple of more touchdowns," Campbell said. "But, of course, we got us one and hopefully week by week we just get better and better."

A couple of those missed opportunities came at the end of the game when a pair of potential touchdown connections from Jared Zabransky to Campbell were negated upon review.

"I mean, 56-15. C'mon, let us have those last little bit of calls. It's not like it's going to change the outcome of the game," said Campbell, who liked what he saw from Zabransky coming in in relief of the injured Ricky Ray. "I was very impressed."

And so were coaches in what was perhaps Campbell's most complete outing of the season.

"When you look at the league regarding returners, usually the returners are the returners and they're not the primary focus on offence or defence as far as playing a position," said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall. "For him to do that, as well as to play the way he did return-wise, I think that's pretty extraordinary."

NOTES: Practice squad receiver Kevin Wuthrich had a present waiting for him following Tuesday's practice.

"I have no idea," the 22-year-old said, as to why he had to take down a colourful Easter Egg basket stuck to the top of his locker.

A little bird -- make that bunny -- told reporters it had something to do with Wuthrich's recent Facebook status.

"Oh, my gosh," said Wuthrich. "All I said was: 'I'm going to put all my eggs in one basket. Time to get to work.' I thought there was something in the eggs, so I didn't even open them. I didn't even think about that."

But you can't blame the guy for being cautious of practical jokes. After all, he was taped to the field goalpost by his teammates on his birthday in the preseason.

"It could be worse, yes," he said.

IN AND OUT: The Eskimos released import RB Daniel Libre from the practice roster.


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