Paopao pursues Esks

Free-agent defensive end Rahim Abdullah appears ready to flip teams this off-season. The former NFL...

Free-agent defensive end Rahim Abdullah appears ready to flip teams this off-season. The former NFL draft pick is leaning toward leaving the Eskimos and joining the Renegades. (Ottawa Sun File Photo)

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

Joe Paopao is "50-50" on whether he'll accept a multi-player trade offer from the Edmonton Eskimos that includes veteran linebacker A.J. Gass.

The Renegades boss would also like one of Edmonton's multitude of fullbacks, while he's being asked for the fifth overall pick in the Canadian College draft plus a warm body, or bodies, in return.

NOTHING OFFICIAL

"We're talking with them, but nothing is solidified," Paopao said yesterday. "We're interested in (Gass). We're interested in a lot of good players. It's just a matter of seeing where it goes from there."

Paopao also said he was playing the waiting game on free-agent defensive lineman Rahim Abdullah, who has been an Eskimo the past three seasons. The Renegades have made the 6-foot-6, 250-pounder an offer, as have a couple of other CFL teams, and they're hoping Abdullah's desire to again play for defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall becomes a determining factor.

"The ball is in his court," Paopao said. "Other suitors are after his services, too. But sometimes, you've just got to be patient at this game.

"The player is always going to do what he believes is best for him, but it doesn't hurt when you have a guy here (Marshall) he respects. They've been together for a couple of Grey Cups. They've been around the horn together."

Abdullah, who recently had NFL workouts with Jacksonville and Tampa Bay, told the Edmonton Sun yesterday that he's leaning toward joining the Renegades.

THINKING OTTAWA

"I haven't really made a decision but it's looking that way," said Abdullah, who would be a tremendous addition to the Renegades' new-look defensive line. A second-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns in 1999, he finished fourth on the team in tackles as a rookie, including a career-high 14 against New Orleans. His playing time was limited by a groin injury the following season and wound up sitting out 2001.

Abdullah joined the Eskimos in 2002 and, in his debut against the Renegades, recorded five tackles and blocked a field-goal attempt. The next week he had two tackles and a sack against Toronto, then sat out the remainder of the season with a blood clot in his heart.

The past two seasons, he has been a force on the Esks' line, recording 13 sacks.

Gass, coincidentally, also had a blood clot problem in his palm that almost ended his career in 2000. A seven-year staple on the Eskimos defence, he has numerous war wounds but remains productive, finishing 13th among all CFLers in tackles last season.


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