September 25, 2012
Eskimos bring in ex-NFLers Brandon Lang, Alex Daniel to bolster D-line
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - On a day when local legend Joey Moss turned 49 years old, it was a couple of brand new Edmontonians who received a gift.
The Edmonton Eskimos announced the signing of a pair of ex-NFL players to reinforce a defensive line that has been decimated by injuries.
While neither Alex Daniel or Brandon Lang received the same congratulatory phone call from none other than Wayne Gretzky that Moss — a mainstay in the Eskimos and Oilers locker-rooms for the past 30 years — did, the pair were content with celebrating the extension of their pro football careers.
“With injuries to Marcus Howard, Julius Williams, Ted Laurent, Etienne Legare, Lee Robinson and Justin Capicciotti, our coaching staff has been playing musical chairs up front for several weeks,” said Eskimos general manager Eric Tillman. “Obviously, it’s been frustrating losing six defensive lineman, but at the same time, we’re enthused about the potential Alex and Brandon bring to our club.
“Both of these young men are very athletic and each is capable of having a positive impact down the stretch as we compete for various playoff scenarios.”
Whether their impact is positive or not, it will certainly be immediate as both D-linemen will suit up to make their CFL debuts Friday against the rival Calgary Stampeders.
“They told me it’s a big rival so I know what’s at stake,” said Lang, who played 12 games with the NFL’s San Diego Chargers over the last two years. “It’s definitely a different pace from playing in the States, but I’ve just got to get adjusted to it.
“It’s pretty tough, but I’m a fast learner.”
Learning the CFL nuances won’t be nearly as dramatic a shift as it was for Lang after being released last summer and getting a day job.
“I was working back at home. Warehouse work,” said the native of Atlanta, Ga. “I was out of there. As soon as I got the phone call, I was gone.”
“I didn’t even finish the shift. Seriously. My boss was just calling me a couple days ago, like: “Why you ain’t been at work?’ I haven’t even had time to tell him that I was in Edmonton, I’ve got a football deal. Hopefully I have that job when I get back home.”
It’s a long way from an NFL paycheck, but Lang said that window isn’t closed just yet.
“It’s definitely a humbling experience when you get to that level. Your head gets so high,” said Lang. “It takes things like that to bring you back down.”
On Tuesday, the Eskimos also announced the release of import kick returner Tony Logan, whole lone action came in the 51-8 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats two weeks ago.
PIVOTAL DECISION: Steven Jyles split quarterback reps down the middle with Matt Nichols on Tuesday, while Kerry Joseph appeared to still be favouring a leg injury. The starting quarterback for Friday’s game has yet to be named.
FINE SIGN: B.C. Lions DT Khalif Mitchell was fined an undisclosed amount by the league for making multiple “throat slashing” gestures toward the Eskimos during Saturday’s game. Mitchell contends he was praying and the gestures were crosses.
IN AND OUT: LG Simeon Rottier got banged up against the B.C. Lions and is doubtful against Calgary on Friday. RT Devin Tyler is doubtful again this week after taking a cleat in the throat in practice last week. DE Julius Williams did not practise again, along with OLB Damaso Munoz. SB Cary Koch is out with a bruised collarbone suffered in Saturday’s game.