Afif back with Esks

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:21 PM ET

Patrick Afif is one happy camper.

After being the final cut at Edmonton Eskimos training camp at the end of preseason, the six-foot-seven, 320-pound offensive lineman is getting another shot at the end of the regular season.

Afif was back practising at Commonwealth Stadium Tuesday, filling in at left tackle for the injured Jeremy Parquet, who left last Saturdays game with a season-ending knee injury.

Im stoked to be back, said Afif, who made history last year by becoming the first player ever to be traded in the UFL.

The Washington State products resume includes being a starter with the San Jose SaberCats during their ArenaBowl championship run in 2007, as well as playing with the Arizona Rattlers.

Afif was told to remain on watch in case the Eskimos needed his services.

I went back to Arena Football, said Afif, who anchored a dominant Orlando Predators O-line that fell just shy of an appearance at ArenaBowl XXIII. We went on a playoff run and we actually would have gone to the Arena Bowl there but we had a field goal in the last two seconds and missed it by like half a yard short.

Coming oh-so-close only has Afif that much hungrier to help the Eskimos reach the playoffs in his return to the CFL.

He got the call on Sunday, while attending a family barbecue. He flew out Monday night and got to his hotel at 2:30 a.m., before getting up four hours later in time for practice.

I wasnt expecting a call now and then just all of a sudden got that call, he said.

Afif was a natural choice to replace Parquet, considering the two battled for the same spot in training camp. But back then, they were aiming the right tackle position, considering veteran Calvin Armstrong was on the left. But with Armstrong gone and Parquet shelved, the left tackle position plays right into Afifs hands.

Im happy because one of the things when I was up here (before) I was playing right, and left tackle is my natural spot, he said. I feel really comfortable at it and its where I like to be at it.

Head coach Richie Hall likes him there, too.

We want to still maintain the ratio we have over there and he did a solid job for us back there in training camp, Hall said. He has an opportunity to come in and contribute immediately. We brought him in here to be ready to play on Saturday.

Im just looking for him to come in and contribute in any fashion that he can. As a group, that offensive line is doing a really good job. He doesnt have to come in here and do anything special, just come in here and do your job.

Afif will be playing the position previously filled by Armstrong.

He and I played college ball together and we battled back and forth in different thing, in Arena and everything else, said Afif, who also played with defensive tackles Adam Braidwood and defensive coach Mike Walker.

SECOND SIGNING: The Eskimos also signed non-import DL Michael Stadnyk, who appeared in six games with the Saskatchewan Roughriders last season. The University of Montana product was selected 14th overall in the 2008 CFL draft and recently spent time on the Calgary Stampeders practice roster.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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