Hard for McClendon to smile despite the numbers

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:34 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Any other night and Ron McClendon would have being sporting a mile-wide grin and showing off his gold teeth.

McClendon replaced tailback Elvis Joseph in the Edmonton Eskimos' backfield and made his CFL debut at a soldout Percival Molson Stadium last night.

The compact scatback had five carries for 12 yards to go along with a half-dozen receptions for 79 yards, including a 19-yarder for his first touchdown.

"The loss kind of takes away from that," said McClendon following Edmonton's loss.

"The offensive line did a great job and I was able to do well because of those guys."

With quarterback Ricky Ray at the controls, the Esks seemingly moved the ball at will and dominated the first half. The Green and Gold controlled the ball for 19 minutes and 59 seconds of the opening half.

McClendon, meanwhile, had two carries over the final 30 minutes and lost a total of three yards.

"You got to give the Montreal coaching staff credit," offered the Mississippi product. "They made some good adjustments in the second half and that was evident in the way we played in the second half."

INSULT TO INJURY: Ezra Landry's 125-yard missed field goal return could have cost the Green and Gold more than a touchdown.

Special teamer/running back Mike Bradley injured his left knee on the play and had to be helped off the field. Bradley did not return after being taken to the dressing room.

"We're hoping it's just a strain," winced Bradley. "I might be able to get back to work next week. Obviously, the best possible scenario would be getting back to work without missing a beat, but time will tell."

LATE HITS: The pre-game festivities at last night's tilt featured a retirement ceremony for Als fullback Bruno Heppel. At half-time, former WWE grappler "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan climbed back into the ring for an exhibition match.


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