June 12, 2019 6:50 pm

Edmonton Eskimos’ defence features new and improved Almondo Sewell

WATCH ABOVE: Some recent Global News videos about the Edmonton Eskimos.

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Edmonton Eskimos defensive tackle Almondo Sewell is enterting his ninth CFL campaign, and if you a take a good look at the 32-year-old player, you might notice something’s a little different.

Sewell lost 12 pounds in the off-season and after playing close to or at the 300-pound mark, he’s now sitting at 288 pounds. Sewell says his training was too focused on weight training and not enough on cardio until last off-season.

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“I’m a lot faster than I normally would be and my conditioning is way up,” Sewell said. “I got to get better in shape. I was worrying too much about how heavy I was lifting but my bench has stayed the same and my squats stayed the same.

“It’s just a lot more running than normal — I’ve never even ran that much in my life before, so practice goes by like a little breeze.”

Listen below: Eskimos defensive lineman Almondo Sewell says after a tough campaign in 2018 he worked on improving his conditioning in the off-season.

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Eskimos head coach Jason Maas says he’s noticed a much quicker Sewell and the bonus is he hasn’t seen a drop-off in his power.

“Anytime you can trim down a little bit, you’re going to be quicker,” Maas said. “I think Mondo is always going to be powerful, but he’s quicker getting off the ball. He’s able to sustain his power, his lungs and his gas tank has gotten bigger, I would say, by trimming down.

“He’s moving well and that’s saying something, because Mondo has always moved well but trimming down from where he was last year, and quite a bit, I think it’s going to lend itself to starting this year a lot faster and ultimately making more plays for us.”

Watch below: (From August 2015) Quinn Phillips helps you get to know Edmonton Eskimos defensive tackle Almondo Sewell with a few rapid fire questions.

READ MORE: New-look Edmonton Eskimos look to return to CFL playoffs

Sewell has 26 quarterback sacks since the start of the 2016 season. The 2018 season saw a bit of a drop-off for Sewell, who recorded seven sacks and for the first time since the 2012 season wasn’t named a league all-star.

Sewell trained in the off-season with Edmonton boxer Jelena Mrdjenovich, who is the current women’s WBC and WBA featherweight champion. Sewell says Mrdjenovich is the best athlete he’s ever been around and she gave him a challenge in the off-season.

Watch below: Some Global News videos about Jelena Mrdjenovich.

“Stay hungry and never get lazy,” Sewell said. “The moment you get lazy, you get too comfortable and you get what happened to me last year. I had a medicore year and fell off from an all-star year — I’m pissed off this year.

“They better be ready because I’m coming.”

READ MORE: Big quarterback moves during off-season gives CFL a new look: Mike Reilly

The Eskimos host the Montreal Alouettes on Friday night in their regular season and home debut. Kickoff on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium is at 7p.m. 630 CHED will have Countdown to Kickoff starting at 5:30 p.m.

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