Esks punt Peterson, Zabransky

Gerry Moddejonge, Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 4:10 AM ET

It was out with the old to make way for the new at Commonwealth Stadium on Wednesday.

In the leadup to CFL draft weekend, the Edmonton Eskimos released Canadian receiver Kamau Peterson and second-string quarterback Jared Zabransky

Peterson, who was the league's Most Outstanding Canadian in 2008, hasn't been the same since due to a recurring Achilles injury that limited him to just four games last season.

But Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed said the 10-year veteran receiver's health wasn't a factor in the decision.

"Kamau is fully healed," said Reed. "He doesn't fit into our plans right now.

"At this time, it is best for him before the draft to have the opportunity to explore employment elsewhere."

Peterson spent the past four seasons in Edmonton where he was a favourite among quarterbacks and media alike.

After signing as a free agent in 2007, the all-star put up career numbers with consecutive 1,000-receiving-yard seasons.

His production dropped off considerably the following year with the advent of Achilles problems.

"We want to move in a different direction with a different type of receiver in that position," Reed said. "We have young guys that proved they can handle that position over (a recent) mini camp and guys that we're signing that we are expecting great things from."

In the end, it comes down to numbers.

"We're at almost the number for signing guys," Reed said. "We'll need to make these moves in order to free up spots and be able to sign more guys."

The writing was on the wall for Zabransky, who wasn't invited to the team's mini camp at the end of April.

Despite moving into the No. 2 spot behind Ricky Ray by the end of last season, Zabransky hasn't been able to translate his college success into a pro career.

Best known for his heroics in leading Boise State past the heavily favoured Oklahoma Sooners in overtime of the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, Zabransky appeared on the cover of EA's NCAA Football 08 video game.

"Jared did an outstanding job for the Edmonton Eskimos," Reed said. "Systematically, we didn't feel that he fit in."

Zabransky's scrambling style didn't mesh with the formula in the Eskimos' pocket.

"It's based on the system that we want to run with the vertical-passing game, pocket quarterback passing the ball," Reed said. "

In two starts last season, as well as backup duties, he completed 53 of 104 passes for 609 yards, four touchdowns and 10 interceptions, but ran 28 times for 209 yards and a TD.

Zabransky's release leaves Matt Nichols and newcomer Cody Kirby dueling for reps behind Ray, with room for one more to be brought into training camp.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/Gerry_EdmSun


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