Homecoming for Lumsden?

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

HAMILTON -- Will Jesse Lumsden be the Edmonton Eskimos' new starting running back next year?

It's an interesting question - and one that is starting to generate some talk.

In fact, there was quiet speculation at Ivor Wynne Stadium yesterday that Lumsden could end up with the Green and Gold next season.

Of course, this is nothing more than speculation right now. It's only Week 5 of the regular season.

So much can happen between now and the end of the year when Lumsden is scheduled to become a free agent.

But on so many levels, there is a solid argument for why Lumsden could surface in the CFL's northern outpost for 2009.

First, Edmonton needs a dominant, fearful running attack. Lumsden delivers that in an instant.

Second, the Edmonton native is a non-import in this league. The Eskimos need to upgrade their non-import stock.

Even before Dan Comiskey and Adam Braidwood suffered injuries, this club was not deep in Canadian starters this year.

Third, the Lumsden family has deep ties to the Eskimos.

His father - Neil - won three Grey Cup rings with the Green and Gold as a fullback.

During this nine-day Esks' road trip to Ontario, it has become real clear the extent of the ties Neil has to this Edmonton organization.

Neil is a scout for the club.

He also stopped by the field for a couple of practice sessions.

But while there are plenty of reasons why a move from Hamilton to Edmonton would make sense for the younger Lumsden, there are just as many reasons to suggest he's staying with the Tabbies.

Topping the list is the fact the 25-year-old tailback is a hometown hero in this city.

Entering tonight's game against Edmonton, Lumsden has 361 rushing yards - for a 7.5-yard average - and four majors on the ground in just three tilts.

If he stays healthy for the year, he can top 1,500 rushing yards this season.

"I love it, playing here. I own a home here. I have family and friends nearby," said Lumsden.

The Ticats organization also loves him. The front office and Lumsden are apparently talking, presumably about trying to get a new contract done before he hits the free-agent market in February.

"His play is spectacular," said Hamilton head coach Charlie Taaffe.

"The way he runs - I can feel it on the sidelines - it gets our defence fired up. He does have legit speed, breakaway speed but he has got that combination of power - he can run over people.

"He has also demonstrated an ability to make guys miss. He has good hands and blocks well. He is the complete player."

But Taaffe is well aware of the pending free agency.

"Hopefully he wants to finish his career in this area," he said.

"On the other side, it's a business, too. His market value is going to be up there.

"I know we will do everything we can to keep him here."

Smart on the field, Lumsden is savvy off the field when it comes to contract talks.

"I have been talking with (Hamilton) but I prefer not to talk about that during the season," he said.

"I want to focus on playing. I am a man of my word. I am not going to make any promises to anybody."


Videos

Photos