EDMONTON - The Edmonton Eskimos aren’t looking past the Toronto Argonauts, but they are trying to stay one step ahead by signing former Double Blue receiver Reggie McNeal.
“Reggie is a receiver that has experience with the Toronto Argonauts and the Calgary Stampeders,” said Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed. “Given the injury that we have with Adarius Bowman (cracked ribs), we felt it was necessary to secure ourselves going into Winnipeg and Montreal by having him around.”
Meaning his arrival in Edmonton in time for Thursday’s walk-through at Commonwealth Stadium won’t help this week, unless he has any inside information on his old squad.
“In Toronto, I played three years there and then they traded me to Calgary during the off-season,” said McNeal. “I had a great training camp, it was just numbers. They already had their set guys at receiving.”
So he finds himself on the North side of the provincial rivalry.
“Coming to a team that’s winning, got a great quarterback, great players, great facility, it doesn’t get much better than this,” said McNeal. “I’ve always liked Green and Gold because I’ve always been a Packers fan, for one.”
And this Green and Gold team is known for a pretty good long-time quarterback, too — in Ricky Ray.
“Of all the quarterbacks in this league, he’s one of the best ones,” McNeal said. “Being able to catch balls from him, I know he’s going to put it there so all we’ve got to do is just make the plays.
“They brought me here to catch them, so I’m catching them and scoring. That’s what we do.”
But he also throws passes, trying out with the Calgary Stampeders as both receiver and quarterback before being a late cut in the preseason this year. The last time he was under centre was in 2006, his rookie NFL season with the Cincinnati Bengals, before spending the next three years running routes in Toronto.
“I still throw, though,” McNeal said. “I still do everything as a quarterback, so that makes everything that much easier at receiver.
“It slows everything down.”
But McNeal has been quick when it comes to feeling at home in his new surroundings at Commonwealth Stadium.
“I’ve been in Toronto and the locker-room there is a trailer,” he said. “Calgary was decent but this is what you want. You have everything that you need inside, you could live here if you want to.
“You know what? I might. Having heard what the rent prices are around here, it doesn’t sound too bad.”