Esks bring in Howard

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:13 PM ET

EDMONTON - Marcus Howard is just happy to be back on the football field.

It doesn’t really matter that the University of Georgia product was not aware until arriving in Edmonton that the CFL played with 12 men, or the field was bigger and that he would have to start a yard off the ball.

“Football is football, I just want to come out here and get back on the football field,” Howard said. “Coming off an injury last year, I’m just ready to play football.

“It’s been a year, I was injured last August and was on injured reserved all of last year with the Tennessee Titans. I haven’t played in a long time and just the main goal for me is to get back out there.”

A fifth-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts in the 2008 NFL Draft, Howard was brought in by the Edmonton Eskimos after failing to catch on with an NFL team this season.

The six-foot-one, 245-pound defensive end will help fill the void left by Greg Peach, who suffered a knee injury two weeks ago against the Calgary Stampeders.

“He’s a very good pass rusher when he’s on the top of his game,” said Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed. “We know this is a new game for him, and we’ll have to be very patient with him until he finds his rhythm. We anticipate there is going to be a learning curve for him.”

The Eskimos have no equal so far this season when it comes to stopping the run.

Despite Chad Kackert’s strong performance for the Toronto Argonauts on Friday, the Eskimos still have the top run defence in the CFL.

This week, however, they’ll be up against the league’s top running back in Fred Reid when they travel to take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday.

“Fred Reid is special, he’s in a different category than most running backs in this league,” said Reed. “They utilize him the right way. He’s not only a good runner, but he’s extremely efficient in the pass-protection game, and he’s a decent receiver out of the backfield. Our goal is to make sure we try to contain him, because we’re not going to stop him. Containment is more the word we’ll probably use this week.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

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