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Edmonton Eskimos make final roster moves for 2019

Eskimos GM Brock Sunderland discusses final rosters moves for 2019. .
Eskimos GM Brock Sunderland discusses final rosters moves for 2019. . 630 CHED/ Dave Campbell

Saturday was the deadline for all CFL teams to reduce their roster to the 46 man limit plus the 12 man practice squad.

For the Edmonton Eskimos, that meant saying goodbye to 24 players.

Seventeen were released, four were moved to the suspended list and three more to the retired list.

That left a group of 58 players still on the active roster; several will make their way to the injured list for the first week to get the Eskimos down to 46.

Eskimos head coach Jason Maas said Sunday that the process was difficult as usual and comes with mixed emotions.

“It was a great group and any time you have to let some of them go, it’s unsettling and you don’t like it, but ultimately that also means you are starting to wind down and pick your team and that’s exciting,” he said.

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READ MORE: Edmonton Eskimos Training Camp Day 18: Training camp turns into camp day

Change was the word of the off-season for the Eskimos. That played out in Week 1 with 27 new faces on the active roster and another nine on the practice roster.

Brock Sunderland, vice-president of football and general manager, said turnover is likely the new normal in the Canadian Football League

“With free agency and the number of free agents, that’s the world we live in right now,” he said. “The massive turnover with one-year contracts is the CFL 2019.”

Now, it’s time to see what kind of team the training camp has produced.

“We have full confidence in the players we kept or we wouldn’t have kept them,” Sunderland said. “We’re no different than the eight other teams. Everybody right now would probably echo what I say. The goal is to win a Grey Cup and we feel we have the roster to do it.”

LISTEN: Eskimos general manager Brock Sunderland says the decisions on the roster following training camp always presents challenges.

Maas hopes that his team’s identity gets established early.

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“We want to be aggressive in all three phases and play good, complementary football,” Maas said. “We want to get after the quarterback whether it is by hitting him or confusing him. On special teams, we want to be dominant in the return game and on cover teams.”

And on offence? The coach said it begins at the line of scrimmage.

“It starts with protecting the quarterback and protecting the ball and from there, we will always have an aggressive mindset on offence and the guys we brought in complement that style of football,” he said.

LISTEN: Eskimos head coach Jason Maas talks about his team after making the final roster cuts on Saturday night.

Some familiar names were released on Saturday, including draft picks offensive lineman Kwabena Asare, defensive lineman Gabriel Bagnell and defensive back Nick Taylor, who played 15 games with the Eskimos in 2018.

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Another familiar player on the move was offensive lineman J.S. Roy, a second-round pick in 2017. He was placed on the practice roster. Roy has played in three games over the last two years.

The Eskimos will hit the field Monday for their first practice of the regular season to prepare for Friday’s game against the Montreal Alouettes at the Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium to open the 2019 CFL regular season.

Practice Roster

International wide receiver Bryce Bobo
National defensive back Scott Hutter
International defensive lineman Darius Jackson
National defensive lineman Mark Mackie
International defensive lineman Kelcey Quarles
International defensive back Jose Romero
National offensive lineman Jean-Simon Roy
National running back Alex Taylor
International defensive back Brian Walker
International linebacker Jonathan Walton
International quarterback Troy Williams
International wide receiver Diego Viamontes

Released

National offensive lineman Kwabena Asare
National defensive lineman Gabriel Bagnell
International wide receiver Tyler Batson
International linebacker DJ Calhoun
International linebacker Daniel Carrete
International defensive lineman Kyle Cerge-Henderson
International wide receiver Torrance Gibson
International offensive lineman Tyler Howell
International running back Blake Ingleton
International defensive lineman Jamar King
International defensive lineman Shaquille Riddick
National defensive back Oshane Samuels
International defensive lineman Ben Sorensen
International defensive back Jalen Spencer
International wide receiver Ron’quavion Tarver
International defensive back Nick Taylor
International defensive lineman Trenton Thompson

Suspended

National defensive back Eric Blake
National wide receiver Hunter Karl
International defensive lineman David Perkins
National wide receiver Malik Richards

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Retired

National defensive back Bryce Bartlett
National kicker Greg Hutchins
International defensive back Robert Priester