The Eskimos are holding their annual mini camp this weekend in Las Vegas, and for the first time it’s all hands on deck. A three-day camp that usually is just for rookies and select veterans has been opened up for the entire team this year.
LISTEN: Almondo Sewell talks with 630 CHED’s Morley Scott
“I’ve never been to one before,” the 31-year-old Jamaica-born Sewell said. “I’m kind of excited to go, not because it’s Vegas – it’s a business trip, you better go down there like you’re playing for your spot, there’s nobody’s spot ever guaranteed. You have to earn your spot every year.”
That message became more clear to Sewell this off-season as he saw four defensive lineman moved out via trade, release or retirement. All four, Odell Willis, Marcus Howard, Phillip Hunt and John Chick are on the north side of 30.
“Business is business. That’s the nature of the game” Sewell said, sitting in his locker stall in the Eskimos dressing room after another off-season work out. “The CFL is like a revolving door sometimes.”
Sewell joined the Eskimos in 2011 and has figured out the perfect way to avoid that revolving door.
He is clearly reaching his goals. The 2017 season was the sixth consecutive year that Sewell made the West Division All-Star Team. In four of those six seasons, he has gone on to be a CFL All-Star.
For Sewell it’s all about working hard – especially in the off-season.
“The work that you put in in the off-season comes back to you in season,” he said.
“Ain’t nobody working harder than me, I promise you that. I work hard then I go out there and put up the numbers. That’s what I do.”
The old saying “it’s not bragging if its’s true” proves true with Sewell. The per-annual all star had seven sacks last year, one off the team lead, he has 45 sacks in his 103 game career, numbers that put him above average for defensive tackles during his time in the CFL.
After playing most of his career with defensive ends Willis and Howard as teammates, he is looking forward to a new look defensive line in 2018 anchored by himself and free agent signing Alex Bazzie. He and Sewell will meet this weekend for the first time in Las Vegas.
“I’ve talked to him a couple of times now,” Sewell said. “I haven’t heard anything bad about him. He is hard working and wants to come in here and be an impact player.”
Ted Laurent and Eddie Steele have teamed up with Sewell inside on the Eskimos D-line in year’s past. Last year it was Euclid Cummings, this year Sewell expects Da’Quan Bowers to be the guy that steps up
“People don’t understand how good Da’Quan Bowers actually is. He was nicked up in the beginning of the season – but when he plays, man he plays. A very good D-tackle.”
Jake Ceresna, acquired from Ottawa in the Willis trade, will also figure in.
“He’s a big dude, man, I saw him out there on the field last year,” Sewell said of the 23-year-old who clocks in an inch taller and almost 10 pounds heavier than the 6 foot 4, 288 pound Sewell.
READ MORE: Edmonton Eskimos unveil 2018 coaching staff
There are several changes to the Eskimos this season and Sewell is on board with the moves GM Brock Sunderland has made.
“Brock has a plan, we’re not arguing with it he knows what he is doing. We’ll see what happens this year.”
With the 2018 Grey Cup scheduled for late November on the Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium, Sewell wants to play in that game to assure that no one else sits in his stall in the Eskimos dressing room.
If it is someone else, he knows the chances of walking through that revolving door increase.
“It’s professional sports, I keep harping on it If you don’t win you’re gonna be gone next year, somebody’s going to be gone.”