Blockbuster or slump buster?

Wide receiver Brock Ralph speaks about being traded to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats by the Edmonton...

Wide receiver Brock Ralph speaks about being traded to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats by the Edmonton Eskimos on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2005. (Edmonton Sun/Jason Franson)

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

Stuck in a troubling slump, the Edmonton Eskimos hope they have found some much-needed help.

With three losses in their last four games, Eskimo head coach Danny Maciocia pulled the trigger on a blockbuster deal yesterday, sending backup Canadian receiver Brock Ralph, seldom-used rookie defensive back Tay Cody and a first-round 2006 Canadian college draft pick to Hamilton for running back Troy Davis and offensive guard Dan Comiskey.

By acquiring Davis and Comiskey, the Green and Gold get the CFL's leading rusher from 2004 and Hamilton's top lineman to help the league's lowest-ranked rushing attack and aid in protecting battered quarterback Ricky Ray.

"We have got ourselves a pretty good guard. A guy that understands what it is to be an Eskimo ... (and) the system we use offensively," said Maciocia of Comiskey before weighing in on Davis.

"We think he is one of the premier (running) backs in the CFL. Yes, he is in his option year and maybe that made the deal doable."

The Comiskey portion of the deal became possible when he granted his permission to the Hamilton coaching staff yesterday morning.

"I got a call from (Hamilton head coach) Greg Marshall and he let me know that I was on the table and that Edmonton was interested," said Comiskey.

"He gave me the choice of staying or going."

CLOSER TO DAUGHTERS

Comiskey went the other way this spring, east to Hamilton after requesting a trade from the Eskimos.

The personable non-import lineman wanted to be close to his southern Ontario home after his twin daughters were born premature, with one suffering kidney problems.

But daughters Jane and Lauren are in good shape nearly six months later.

"If that wasn't the case, I wouldn't have accepted the trade," said Comiskey.

The nine-year CFL veteran, who spent three years in Edmonton, wants to move his family back to the West as soon as possible.

"Our plan right now is to move to Edmonton and just stay until I retire," he added.

"I am excited about getting back in front of Ricky Ray and standing beside Bruce Beaton and Kevin Lefsrud."

Davis is also excited about heading west to join a team fighting for a playoff spot, unlike the last place Tiger-Cats.

"It has put me in a better situation and I get a chance to play for a Grey Cup," he said from Hamilton.

Davis's resume is incredible:

- runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 1996

- finalist for the Heisman in 1995

- rushed for 2,000 yards in consecutive seasons at Iowa State

- rushed for 1,628 yards last year in Hamilton, a franchise record

NORTH TO SOUTH

So far this season, the 30-year-old Florida native has 792 yards, which is just 112 yards less than the entire Eskimo team.

"He runs really hard north to south," said Maciocia. "He can pass block; he can catch the ball coming out of the backfield."

The trade doesn't surprise Davis, but Comiskey doesn't fall into that category.

"I didn't see it coming at all," he said.

Given Marshall's comments last week, many CFL observers are just as surprised.

"He will be a great part of our football team in 2006," said Marshall when commenting about Comiskey last Thursday.

"I really think he is a guy you can build an offensive line around."

Comiskey will take Joe McGrath's job at left guard on Edmonton's line, but McGrath could move to right guard.

Depending on the health of Sandy Annunziata's injured elbow, Maciocia could chose between Patrick Kabongo, McGrath or Annunziata for that spot.

Davis will become the team's starting tailback, but might not have that role on Monday when the Eskimos are in Toronto to battle the Argos.

"I don't know if he is going to start because here is the other thing we need to be careful with: how much can he retain as far as information and material (for) this upcoming game in Toronto?" said Maciocia.


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