During the first quarter of the Edmonton Eskimos pre-season game in Winnipeg against the Blue Bombers, receiver Anthony Parker suffered a ruptured Achilles, ending his season.
It was a blow for the nine-year CFL veteran and for the Eskimos, who signed Parker in February.
The team had plans for Parker to play in the offence this season and contribute possibly on special teams. Now with Parker out of the lineup, the Canadian contingent of receivers are Natey Adjei, Tevaun Smith, Shai Ross, Hunter Karl and Harry McMaster.
Head coach Jason Maas says his young group will have to grow up fast.
“Right now we have five Canadian receivers here and all of their roles now will potentially be bigger,” Maas said.
“Obviously, Natey leads that group. With Anthony’s injury we have to find other guys who can step up, learn our offence quickly, be accountable to the system we run and be a pro. There’s limited experience there, so when you lose Anthony, you lose a lot of experience.”
Natey Adjei is going into his sixth CFL season. In 2018, Adjei recorded a career high in catches with 20 and receiving yards with 193 and scored one touchdown. Adjei is also one of two holdovers in the receiving corps from last season along with Kenny Stafford. He says his role has already changed as he’s answering a lot more questions.
“It’s so weird because I’m used to being the other way around,” Adjei said.
“I’m that guy now and I’d rather be that than the other way so I’m having fun with it.
“It’s good to impart your knowledge and help other guys grow — like Tevaun and some of the other guys — so it’s been a really cool experience.”
Tevaun Smith, the 2016 first round pick, is in a CFL training camp for the first time after spending the last three seasons with three NFL teams.
In the two pre-season games, Smith caught three passes for 37 yards and scored a touchdown. Smith also returned a punt for four yards and recorded 46 yards on two kick-off returns.
There isn’t a pre-season game to prepare for this week but there is a mock game on Thursday and Smith says it’s the last time to leave an impression with the coaching staff.
“The mock game is going to be big for us and they are throwing a lot of plays at us,” Smith said.
“It’s going to be an adjustment, obviously, but we have a good group of guys who communicate and we’re going to continue to learn and get better everyday.”
Edmonton Eskimos Profile
14 Jeremiah Briscoe, Quarterback
6’3, 225 pounds
Born: August 15, 1993
School: Sam Houston State
The release of Danny O’Brien on the weekend means Logan Kilgore will be the backup to Trevor Harris. Rookie Jeremiah Briscoe is now the Eskimos number three quarterback. The product of Sam Houton State is a two-time winner of the Walter Payton award to the best player in the FCS. Briscoe was a baseball player in high school, pitching for Stratford High School in Houston, Texas.
“Baseball is my first love. That’s what I did growing up all year round, playing ball,” Briscoe said.
“Began getting recruited real early for baseball but really fell in love with football in my sophomore year in high school and I ended not playing baseball in my junior year in high school.
“I wanted to put that much extra time into football because that’s what I wanted to do and where my heart was.
“When I got to UAB (University of Alabama-Birmingham) fortunately I had the opportunity where I could play both so I did pitch the first year I was there but after it was too much and I had to decide on one or the other.”
LISTEN: Eskimos defensive coordinator Phillip Lolley on the performance of the defence in the two pre-season games and the return of two key veteran defenders.
The Eskimos will hold a short practice on Wednesday at noon on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium.
On Thursday, the team will hold a mock game from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
On Saturday, CFL teams need to cut down their rosters to 46 players by 8 p.m. MT.