Edmonton Eskimos Training Camp Day 3: We’ve got action, Jackson

The Edmonton Eskimos have plenty of new faces in the fold this season, but one familiar name is coming back.

The Eskimos announced late on Monday the signing of running back and kick-returner Martese Jackson. The 27-year-old was traded to the Eskimos last September by the Toronto Argonauts.

Head coach Jason Maas is happy to have Jackson back in the fold.

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“We were working on it all off-season to get him here and he finally agreed to terms and he’ll come in and compete,” Maas said. “I think we know what he’s capable of, I think he’s proven that in the league. He’s going to compete with our other returners and see what happens, but Martese is a dynamic returner. We utilized him well in our offence last year as well as another weapon. I think we’re all excited to get him back here.”

Jackson played six games for the Eskimos last season, recording a seven-yard average on punt returns and 16 yards on kick-off returns. Both number are below his career averages of 11 yards per punt and 20 yards per kick-off return. The return game has struggled for the Eskimos over the last few seasons.

Enter A.J. Gass who played middle linebacker for the Eskimos for 10 seasons. He returns to the organization as the team’s new special teams coordinator.

Gass played plenty of special teams over his career and played with arguably the best returner in CFL history in Henry “Gizmo” Williams. Gass isn’t looking for another Gizmo Williams but says there are keys his returners need to follow.

“The first thing I did in our first return meeting is I put up what’s called the returner’s code. It’s about six or seven rules that they live and die by,” Gaas said. “If they follow the code, their lanes will get open.

“It’s those selfish style of returners who go wherever they want and not run within the scheme of the play called that don’t get any yardage. I think some of that is what we had here so letting them know that the blockers are going to be in position and to trust it I think is going to open up a lot of lanes for us.

Jackson will join fellow running backs Shaq Cooper and Jordan Robinson along with rookie receiver and 2019 CFL Draft pick Shai Ross for the return job.

Audibles

Head coach Jason Maas speaks about the impact of running back and returner Martese Jackson who signed back with the Eskimos on Monday.

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Eskimos Player Profile

#6 Sean Whyte K
5’9″ 175 pounds
Born: Oct. 23, 1985 in White Rock, B.C.
School: Santa Monica JC

Sean Whyte is at his 13th CFL training camp and getting set to start his 11th season in the league. Since arriving in Edmonton as a free agent midway through the 2015 season, Whyte has been extremely dependable, connecting on over 90 per cent of his field goal attempts.

Whyte spends as much time as he can in the off season at a curling rink. He was on a team that toured all over Alberta this past winter and ended the curling season in early May in Minneapolis at a charity event for Lupus.

“It’s the biggest curling pro am in the world,” Whyte, who was invited by his close friend Chelsea Carey, said. Whyte was in awe of who he was around that week.

“I had a game where Pat Ryan played beside me, I played against Cathy O [Overton-Clapham] and Eve Muirhead was in the game to my right. Then Glenn and Scott Howard are watching me. I thought ‘How the hell I am I supposed to throw a rock in this situation?’”

Roster notes

Three players have been released by the Eskimos. Defensive tackle Mic’hael Broos, defensive lineman Lucky Daniels, and receiver Mile Shuler.

The Eskimos will hold their first two-a-day session of training camp Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. and 10:10 a.m. on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium.

The Eskimos host the B.C. Lion in their first pre-season game on Sunday afternoon. 630 CHED will have live coverage of the game starting with Countdown to Kick-off at 12:30 p.m., the opening kick-off will be at 2 p.m.

– With files from Morley Scott, 630 CHED

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