Esks' Charles the link with 'Riders

Eskimos running back Hugh Charles is facing his former team for the first time Friday since being...

Eskimos running back Hugh Charles is facing his former team for the first time Friday since being traded from the Riders in October. (Reuters file)

Gerry Moddejonge, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

EDMONTON - Hugh Charles is this week’s missing link.

The running back is the one piece that connects the puzzling West Division’s co-leading Edmonton Eskimos with the basement-bound Saskatchewan Roughriders.

And on Friday, Roughriders head coach Ken Miller will see Charles for the first time since trading away the fourth-year CFLer on Oct. 12.

But he doesn’t expect to be surprised by what he sees.

“I think that he demonstrated in the last game what he can do,” Miller said. “He ran the football well, made a great catch, and so he can be an explosive player.”

Which is why the Eskimos rescued Charles from a Roughriders team that was watching the entire season implode on them.

The last game he played in watermelon green was against the Eskimos on Thanksgiving, which Edmonton won 17-1 to eliminate the Roughriders from playoff contention.

“Our chance went away from us when we lost against Edmonton,” Charles said. “Because we needed four wins in a row and we needed Hamilton to lose every game, too.

“So those were the odds that we were going against.”

Then Charles went from slim-to-none to back in the saddle after being swapped to Edmonton in return for a conditional 2014 draft pick.

“I’m fortunate enough to play this team that I just came from,” Charles said. “The reason I came here is that I am going to get utilized and they’ve shown it so far.

“This week’s a new week and hopefully I can make some more big plays.”

The Eskimos didn’t even need to lock him in a dark room and sweat all the Roughriders secrets out of him with a heat lamp.

“Kavis did come up to me and ask me a few things,” he said. “But they know what type of team we’re playing and I didn’t have to give away too many secrets.”

One thing that isn’t so secret is how much pride his former squad has, despite being KO’d early.

“A lot of pride and they have nothing to lose,” Charles said. “It’s unfortunate the things that they went through this season, with firing the head coach and also the O.C. (offensive co-ordinator). And then Miller coming in trying to make us the team that we’ve been in the past.

“But it just didn’t work out.”

Maybe not for the Roughriders. But here, things are working out just fine.

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gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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