Dolphins release Messam; Esks eye his return
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
|Then-Edmonton Eskimos' running back Jerome Messam holds his trophy after winning the Most Outstanding Canadian at the CFL Player Awards in Vancouver on Nov. 24, 2011. Messam joined the National Football League's Miami Dolphins in February, but was released Saturday, partly opening the door for his return to Edmonton. (Ben Nelms/Reuters)
EDMONTON - Jerome Messam may be a fish out of water after being cut by the Miami Dolphins on Saturday.
But the reigning CFL most-outstanding Canadian may soon find himself becoming the big fish in the small pond once again, if the Edmonton Eskimos get their way.
"Jeff Ireland (Dolphins GM) called me this morning and said they were releasing Jerome," said Eskimos general manager Eric Tillman. "It's Darren Gill's (his agent) parents' 40th wedding anniversary, but we exchanged very positive e-mails. (Eskimos head coach) Kavis (Reed) has spoken with Jerome, but until he clears NFL waivers Monday afternoon, anything said is premature."
Messam, who signed with the NFL club back in February, was part of a Dolphins squad that went winless in their first three preseason games, taking his only carry for a loss of two yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and making a catch for 10 yards against the Carolina Panthers before sitting out this week's game against the Atlanta Falcons.
But last year, he had a breakout season in the CFL, running down 1,057 yards on 195 carries with six touchdowns on his way to becoming the first Canadian in 11 seasons to hit the millennium mark.
However, a return to the Eskimos — who have his CFL playing rights until the next free-agency window opens on Feb. 15, 2013 — wouldn't automatically mean a return to his former duties.
After all, the Eskimos filled the void left by the six-foot-three, 245-pound Messam with the dual threat of Hugh Charles, who has 437 rushing yards to go with 269 through the air, as well as signing Cory Boyd, who was leading the league in ground gains prior to being released by the Toronto Argonauts earlier this month.
And if they can add Messam into the mix ...
"It's a situation where now we have quality depth, where two weeks ago we only had one running back and Calvin (McCarty), being a jack of all trades as fullback and part-time running back," Reed told the Eskimos website on Saturday. "So it would be a very good situation for us if it works out."
It is Messam's non-import status, along with his size and a newly proven track record, that makes him a desirable commodity north of the border.
"He, last year, he gave us the ability to go with four receivers in terms of the Americans and also being able to rotate guys through," Reed said. "We were at one time with an American kicker and punter because we had Jerome being the Canadian starting running back."
But nothing is guaranteed at this point.
"Jerome has options," Reed said. "We have supported Jerome all along and we're going to continue to support Jerome.
"He's going to look at his options down there and if things don't work out then we know he'll probably be part of the plans here."
IN AND OUT: Recently signed DL Claude Wroten was released by the Eskimos on Saturday.