Sanchez back with Als

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:50 AM ET

Reggie Durden didn't see it coming.

Neither did Davis Sanchez.

Robert Brown asked for it.

Yesterday, the Edmonton Eskimos acquired Durden and Brown from the Montreal Alouettes in exchange for Sanchez.

A five-year veteran defensive back with the Alouettes, Durden was taken by surprise when informed he was on his way to Edmonton.

"It was very surprising, but it's another step. Life goes on and you just have to move forward," said Durden from his home in Houston, Texas. "But I'm looking forward to playing in Edmonton. It's always good to go to a team that has won the Grey Cup and has had success winning in this league. It's always good to go to a winning organization."

Durden, 29, a graduate of Florida State University, had a strong 2005 season for the Alouettes, recording 54 tackles and a pair of interceptions.

A QUALITY COVER GUY

He also had four tackles in the Grey Cup loss to the Eskimos in November.

"If you take a look at that Grey Cup game, most of our success came from staying away from Durden," said Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia. "He's such a quality cover guy and he tackles really, really well. That's why it was a must that we get someone like Reggie here in Edmonton."

Brown, 31, a 2002 East Division all-star returns to Edmonton, where he played three years with the Eskimos from 1999 to 2001. The six-foot-two, 275-pound defensive lineman out of Southern Mississippi University had two sacks and seven tackles last season. He makes his off-season home in Edmonton and is currently on vacation in Africa.

"I think he was looking to play his football out West and that was a request he had made to the Montreal Alouettes and they tried to accommodate him," said Maciocia. "He gives us a little bit of depth. He's someone that's established, well respected, plays the run real well, uses his hands well and I think he's going to be a force to be reckoned with."

In Sanchez, the Eskimos lose a quality Canadian defensive back who had 28 tackles, two sacks and one interception in 12 regular-season games last year.

The 31-year-old Vancouver native, however, missed all of the post-season with a groin injury. He returns to Montreal, where he played three seasons with the Alouettes.

"I was surprised," Sanchez said. "It's bitter-sweet I guess. I liked being in Edmonton. It was close to my family. But I had lots of good relationships in Montreal and I'm excited about going back."

Sanchez was originally drafted by Montreal in the first round (sixth overall) of the 1999 Canadian College Draft. He played two seasons with the Alouettes before heading to the NFL to play with the San Diego Chargers in 2001. He returned to play with the Calgary Stampeders in 2003, then was traded back to Montreal in 2004.

Last year Sanchez signed as a free agent with the Eskimos.

"It was frustrating to be hurt as much as I was," said Sanchez. "I wasn't able to do the things I wanted to do because of injuries.

NATURE OF THE BUSINESS

"Having signed a long-term deal, I expected to be in Edmonton for a while. But that's the nature of the business. I've been a pro now for eight years and I've played on a lot of different teams, so I'm used to it."

Losing Sanchez forces the Eskimos to make adjustments as far as their Canadian ratio goes. It's something Maciocia looked at before making the deal.

"I think we have an abundance of quality Canadians here," Maciocia said. "When we started these discussions, the ratio was something we took into consideration and we're very comfortable where we are right now as far as the ratio goes."


Videos

Photos