Esks let go of Mo

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:52 PM ET

Defensively, he didn’t fit into the new plans, so the Edmonton Eskimos are moving out without linebacker Maurice Lloyd.

On Monday, the club announced they had released the former CFL all-star, bringing an end to his two-year tenure in Edmonton.

“Coach (Rich) Stubler and I studied our defensive scheme very closely and the things that we wanted to accomplish scheme-wise,” said Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed. “We felt it was better to go with a younger guy with clean slate so that we can indoctrinate him in the system we want.

“This is a Kavis decision, in the fact that when I spoke to Stubler at length, it didn’t work schematically in terms of that athlete that we wanted in that position, so it was time to move forward.”

Lloyd, 28, signed with the Eskimos prior to the 2009 campaign, following three outstanding seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

He was a West Division All-star in 2008 and a CFL all-star the following season.

Last year, Lloyd led the Eskimos with 82 tackles, while collecting five sacks and one interception.

“It’s the direction the defence is going,” Reed said. “It was strictly a scheme thing, that we felt we needed to go in a different direction, we wanted a different body type, we wanted a different kind of athlete in this position. This is not an indictment against Mo Lloyd as it may seem. I’m quite certain that Maurice will be working somewhere else very soon.

“I am quite happy that we did it early enough where he has ample time to being able to secure another job.”’

A native of Daytona Beach, Florida, Lloyd had a standout college career with the University of Connecticut Huskies before signing as a free agent with the Roughriders and helping them win the Grey Cup in 2007.

“I spoke with Mo (Monday) and he was very understanding, and he knows that this is a business where your time is always being questioned,” Reed said. “I don’t think any athlete is not surprised by (being released), no matter when it happens, it’s always going to be devastating and quite shocking. But he was very professional about it, he understood what we were trying to accomplish and he wanted to know if we would be willing to help him moving forward, which we are.”

Last Thursday the Esks signed linebacker Quinton Culberson, who played three seasons with the St. Louis Rams, racking up 11 starts with the NFL club from 2007 to 2009. He also had stints in 2009 with the UFL’s Florida Tuskers and the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, where he finished the season on special teams.

While the Eskimos have a good idea of who they hope can step in and replace Lloyd at the critical middle linebacker position, Reed was reluctant to name Lloyd’s successor on Monday.

He did acknowledge, however, the veteran’s presence in the locker room will be missed next season.

“Mo is a valuable person in the locker room in a sense that he’s spiritual leader and he was also a spiritual leader in Saskatchewan,” Reed said. “Those kind of guys are always very special to a locker room. But this is an opportunity for us to find other guys that can be leaders. The team has to have multiple leaders and guys that are pulling the weight as well. He had a tremendous value to this locker room, but now we have to find other guys to replace that.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/DerekVanDiest


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