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Esks get slotback Fred Stamps back in lineup

EDMONTON - Six weeks after star slotback Fred Stamps took a debilitating shot in the shoulder, he's back and ready to give the anaemic Edmonton Eskimos' offence a shot in the arm.

EDMONTON - Six weeks after star slotback Fred Stamps took a debilitating shot in the shoulder, he's back and ready to give the anaemic Edmonton Eskimos' offence a shot in the arm.

The 29-year-old Louisiana-born slotback was practising in pads Wednesday and is expected to play Sunday against the 7-3 Montreal Alouettes (TSN, 4 p.m. ET).

"I feel rusty but anxious to get out there and play," said Stamps.

"It (the right shoulder) is still a little weak, but my strength is coming back. I can get it over my head. It's just a little sore.

"It's tough the last six weeks sitting and watching my team on the sideline."

It's been a season to forget for the Eskimos, who are 2-8, in last place in the CFL, and in danger of missing the playoffs for the third time in five seasons.

The Eskimos are averaging just 18.7 points per game and have scored just 14 TDS and 183 first downs in 10 games — all worst in the CFL.

The team already has the booby prize locked up with a minus-19 rating in the giveaway/takeaway category. (The next worst team is Toronto at minus-4).

Head coach Richie Hall said everything changes with Stamps back in the lineup.

"He runs all the routes and he commands attention. That opens up everything else for other people," said Hall.

"With him and (Kelly) Campbell you've got two vertical pushes (up the field) and then you've got (Marko) Mitchell. He has the ability to go up over the top."

Stamps, in his fourth year with Edmonton, went down with a dislocated right shoulder against Toronto on Aug. 6. He was the CFL's second-leading receiver at the time, but is now 10th.

He has 38 catches for 609 yards (a 16-yard average) and one touchdown.

Help was also on the way Wednesday on the defensive side of the ball.

Defensive end Greg Peach worked out and is expected to play against Montreal, the first action the 23-year-old has seen since he ripped ligaments in his left ankle in the season opener against B.C.

The plan is to rotate him in with Ken Pettway and Kai Ellis.

"It's probably the hardest thing I've ever done as far as football's gone. I've never been hurt that long in my career," said Peach.

Peach, born in Washington State, is in his second year with the Eskimos. He was signed as a free agent and started 17 games last season, making 45 tackles. He was tied for the team lead in sacks with six.

General manager Eric Tillman said the defensive line is such that he doesn't see the Eskimos actively pursuing prized free agent defensive end Stevie Baggs, a recent cut from the NFL's Arizona Cardinals.

"I see good players on the perimeter for this team," said Tillman, who was introduced as the team's new GM on Tuesday.

"Given what (Baggs) is going to get on the marketplace, I just don't see us going there, particularly with our (salary) cap situation."

Baggs played for Saskatchewan last year and was tied for the CFL lead with 12 sacks.

It's been a tumultuous week for the Eskimos. Scores of fans have called the team criticizing the decision to hire Tillman, the former Saskatchewan GM who pleaded guilty earlier this year to sexually assaulting his teenage babysitter.

Tillman said he's not surprised, but is determined to make amends.

"I knew that was going to be part of the equation. It's going to be a day-by-day process, and I'm going to control what I can control," he said.

Notes: The Eskimos have signed 23-year-old import running back Daniel Porter to the practice roster. Porter set the career rushing record last year for the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs with 211 carries for 1,132 yards.

 
 
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