Edmonton Eskimos vote in new coin crew for 2019
Some new faces are taking the coin toss for the Edmonton Eskimos this season.
Quarterback Trevor Harris and middle linebacker Larry Dean have joined the elder statesman of the locker-room, fullback Calvin McCarty, as team captains, as voted by their teammates.
McCarty, last year’s offensive captain, is now representing special teams after making way for Harris to take over his former department, while the team now officially has a Dean of Defence.
“Trevor, Larry and Calvin were voted offence, defence and special teams,” said Eskimos head coach Jason Maas, adding each week, two other players will be voted to join the trio for the coin toss. “We’re going to have five for every game, so the captains get to vote for the next two, and we’ve got alternates and all that stuff.
“But those three guys got voted and that’s a big deal. I mean, they get voted by their peers, we let it be an open forum and those are the guys that got picked. So, good on them, they’re going to be the guys that lead us this year.”
While last year’s captains also included current special-teamer Blair Smith and recently retired middle linebacker J.C. Sherritt, Maas has no qualms about the team being led by some entirely new residents in the locker-room this year.
“No, that’s why you put it to the room,” he said. “Obviously, our room isn’t concerned with that. The guys that were close to them in the voting system are here and those will be our alternate captains when those guys happen to go down or can’t play for a game.
“But ultimately, we expect our captains to play 18 games and those will be guys that lead us. When you preach the culture and the organization, the guys that came in, there wasn’t a lot of preaching going on. Those guys buy in and those guys get it. Our selection process this year to make our club was built on character. You want guys that are character guys already, you don’t want to have to make a character guy. You want the character guys to step in the locker-room and they’ve done a great job wherever they’ve been so we’re just glad to have them here.”
STAMPS OF APPROVAL
Former Eskimos star receiver and fan-favourite Fred Stamps was back in Commonwealth Stadium for the first time since 2015.
But back then, he lined up on the visitors sideline.
“Last time I’ve been in this stadium, I played against Edmonton,” said Stamps, whose ninth Canadian Football League season was spent with the Montreal Alouettes, following an off-season trade for current Eskimos receiver Kenny Stafford. “It was kind of weird being over there as opposed to over here, but it was cool and that’s the last time I’ve been here.
“But I’m glad I get to sit back on this side of the bench, man.”
Stamps took in Friday’s game from the home sideline before being honoured at halftime with a retirement ceremony. He signed a one-day contract in April to officially retire as a member of the team he spent his first eight seasons with.
“The one memory when I walked up to the stadium, I was just thinking about when I first came as a rookie in 2007, just kind of walking in for training camp and stuff like that,” said Stamps, who was tearing up when presented with a framed No. 2 jersey by longtime Eskimos equipment manager Dwayne Mandrusiak. “Just the welcome that I received, man, it filled me a lot.”
Stamps wasn’t the only former player in attendance Friday. Ex-Eskimos receiver Andrew Nowacki and legendary quarterback Damon Allen were also guests of their former team, while former Eskimos linebacker Kenny Ladler, currently a safety with the National Football League’s New York Giants, sounded the horn at Commonwealth Stadium to open the 2019 schedule.
“It’s exciting to see the guys and kind of brings the juices back,” said Stamps. “It means a lot, especially coming from an organization like this. Class A. It’s amazing for those guys to give me the opportunity to even sign a one-day deal and come back as an Eskimo.
“I’m just humbled by it.”
NO REST FOR THE WICKED
Just 20 hours removed from calling the Toronto Raptors’ historic championship victory in San Francisco, TSN’s Rod Black was 2,400 km north to call the Eskimos season opener Friday at Commonwealth Stadium.
This year’s Eskimos media guide has taken a marked departure from the norm by leaving out individual player and coach bios. Apparently, printing a full-gloss booklet with basically just historical facts and stats made more sense than getting the word out about who’s who on the roster this season.
On Twitter: @GerryModdejonge