Lumsden's a team guy

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:08 AM ET

It's hard to determine what is more impressive: Jesse Lumsden's CFL-leading rushing stats or the words that come out of his mouth.

Called the rising star of the CFL because of his 554 rushing yards through six weeks with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the 25-year-old Canadian takes that statement and turns it around.

"It is not something I take personally and jump up and down about," he said yesterday.

"I think it is very flattering that they are saying that, but I am in a position that I don't work alone. Whenever I talk about what we do, I'm referring to myself and the O-line.

"I can't think I am a rising star because we work together."

Overlooked in the hoopla surrounding Lumsden's arrival in Edmonton to battle the Eskimos tomorrow night at Commonwealth Stadium is the fact that he can bolt the CFL after this season.

With the option year of his Hamilton contract kicking in on January 1, 2008, he could try his luck in the ultra-rich NFL over the winter.

But the big Canuck running back has a very intelligent answer for that too.

"That is not something that is even in my mind," said Lumsden on the idea of jumping to the NFL. "If you think too far ahead in the future, you will forget about what's in front of you.

"That is what is most important. The only thing I'm focused on right now is this week's game."

Going against a horrible Edmonton run defence - which is giving up a league-worst 134.2 rushing yards per game - Lumsden could have another huge night.

He destroyed a very talented Winnipeg front seven last week, racking up 211 rushing yards, including touchdown romps of 69 and 75 yards.

Earlier this season he put up 158 rushing yards on the B.C. Lions.

In his first full year in the CFL after failed attempts with Seattle and Washington in the NFL, he has a stunning 9.4-yard average.

But his success isn't surprising Edmonton linebacker coach Dan Kepley.

"He was just a big game waiting to happen," said Kepley.

In one of those great ironic twists in football, Kepley is good friends with Lumsden's father Neil, a former Eskimo, and has to coach his players to shut down Jesse this weekend.

Not known as a shifty runner, Lumsden has made teams pay for making mistakes.

"When he decides to come into that run gap, we best have somebody there," continued Kepley.

"And he better be buckled up."

In Week 5, Winnipeg was able to hold Lumsden to just 45 yards on 10 carries. In Week 2, Toronto's defence was even better, keeping him to 15 yards on seven carries.


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