Players give GM a chance

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:17 AM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos were taking the good with the bad in welcoming their new general manager Tuesday.

As good a football decision as it is to bring in the mastermind behind three Grey Cups, it may turn out to be as bad as possible for their community image to bring in Eric Tillman.

But the Eskimos biggest community supporter doesn't have a problem with Tillman's past.

"The No. 1 thing, everybody makes mistakes in life and he has faced that and he has addressed that to the best that any human being can do that," said Patrick Kabongo, the team's two-time David Boone Award winner for his work in the community. "The past is the past, people have to look beyond that. To be really honest, everybody has done things that weren't right, it just didn't get publicized like his.

"Everything that people want to know about him, about the incident, they can look it up. It's public record. But at the end of the day, he's a proven guy in football. He made a mistake but it doesn't mean that he's a terrible human being. Someone that is a great human being comes back and apologized and that's what he has done."

Tillman was the one who drafted Kabongo to the Ottawa Renegades seven years ago.

"I think upper management has worked really hard to get things rolling again with Eric Tillman," Kabongo said. "He did great in Saskatchewan, I've got nothing but good things to say."

As did the rest of the Eskimos locker-room, which has gotten good at staying positive in the face of adversity, struggling to a 2-8 record this season.

"I'm sure there'll be some people out there that will be negative. Those people aren't a part of the team," said Eskimos defensive tackle Adam Braidwood. "He's got a lot to prove and he's willing to do that. He hasn't tried to hide anything or disclose anything that isn't true. He says everything is out there, it's open. Hopefully everybody takes his arrival here in a positive light."

Eskimos middle linebacker Maurice Lloyd played under Tillman in Saskatchewan.

"Best of luck to him, he's got the job, now he's got to do it," said Lloyd. "He's a great guy, brings in great players. He went to four Grey Cups. He lost one due to people can't count."

Lloyd was a part of the 2007 championship squad.

"I don't really know him as a person to a person, but as a general manager to a player his door's always open and he's willing to listen," Lloyd said. "If the court and the family can give him a second chance, why can't we? Everybody's human, everybody's going to make mistakes."

IN AND OUT: SB Fred Stamps (shoulder), S Elliott Richardson (wrist) and DE Greg Peach (ankle) were back practising after extended time away for injuries. SB Kelly Campbell (ankle) practised for the first time in two weeks after playing hurt the last two games. Newly signed OG Kelly Bates was playing at right guard while Patrick Kabongo rested from bumps and bruises sustained in Friday's game. Also resting were DT Dario Romero and DT Adam Braidwood. S Saleem Borhot (ankle), WR Skyler Green (leg) and DB Lenny Walls (leg) sat out.


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