Homecoming for Esks' Duval

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:02 AM ET

MONTREAL - While the rest of the Edmonton Eskimos are wrapping up an extended road trip, Damon Duval is having a homecoming.

The former Montreal Alouettes kicker returns here for the first time to face the only CFL club to ever release him.

“Going back, it’s going to be a good game but it’s definitely a business trip,” said the 31-year-old Duval, who spent the first six years of his CFL career with the Alouettes before joining the Eskimos in June. “The exciting thing is I’ll be able to see my wife and kids for the first time since I went to Edmonton for training camp.

“Still, it’s a business trip. We have to go in and be ready to play a tough Alouettes team and we have to be on our A-game to be able to go in and get a victory.”

Despite helping the Alouettes to back-to-back Grey Cups the last two years, Duval has rejuvenated a waning career since joining the Eskimos and currently sits second in the league in both punting and kicking points.

But he didn’t exactly have Aug. 11 circled on his calendar as an I-told-you-so game.

“I’ve never been that type of person,” Duval said. “No matter who we’re playing, it’s a football game. They’re getting paid just like we are to go out and do a job.

“It is a little different because I do know a lot of the guys from over the last six years.”

Not to mention the fact Duval has never played against the Alouettes before.

“This will be the first time in my career ever playing against them,” Duval chuckled. “The one team in the CFL I’ve never played against.”

While he won’t exactly have the hometown crowd on his side, Duval will still feel right at home in Percival Molson Memorial Stadium.

“Being familiar with the stadium and the wind and all those things definitely helps,” Duval said. “Hopefully it will be nice weather and you really won’t have to worry about all that stuff.

“But anytime you can go into a place you’re pretty familiar with is definitely an advantage.”

It has been over a month since Duval left his wife, Ashley, and two sons, four-year-old Drew and three-year-old Hunter. So he took the opportunity to leave for Montreal on Tuesday — a day ahead of the rest of the team — to visit them in Hudson, just outside of Montreal.

“They went up last week. Of course, her family’s up there,” Duval said of his wife, who is the sister of Eskimos receiver Brad Smith. “In the last seven years of us being together, this is the first time I’ve ever been away from them.

“I missed my youngest’s birthday on Aug. 5.”

Instead of watching candles being blown out, Duval saw the Eskimos drop their first game of the season to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

“It’s a little hard to be away, but, hey, this is a job and this is what I signed up to do and was given the opportunity to do,” he said. “And I’m going to continue to do the best I can.”

There will be some supporters, at least, in the stands cheering him on Thursday.

“It’s nice to see everybody,” Duval said. “It is a little homecoming but, bottom line, we still have to go out and play.”

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