Canadian Football League

Friday, March 04, 2005

Edmonton moves foward with the Canadians in The Canadian Football League.

The Edmonton Eskimos officially upped their Canadian quotient yesterday. Defensive back Davis Sanchez and defensive lineman Tim Fleiszer, both former Montreal Alouettes, were rolled out for the local media at a late afternoon gathering.
Sanchez put his signature on a contract for three years plus an option worth roughly $840,000. Fleiszer scrawled his name on a more modest one-year plus an option deal.
Fleiszer, a Harvard grad, figures to line up at defensive end, while Sanchez will supplant import Darrel Crutchfield as the starting wide-side corner.
Naturally, the non-import signings have rookie Esks' head coach Danny Maciocia sporting a mile-wide grin.
"We're a much better football team than we were three weeks ago," gushed Maciocia, who knows both players from his ties to Montreal. "Our ratio went from one extreme to possibly the other extreme. It creates options as far as what we want to do with our imports and it gives us a certain flexibility."
The 30-year-old Sanchez is the biggest fish hooked out of the free-agent pool by the Esks this off-season. Known for his in-your-face style and penchant for drawing flags, the Vancouver area product has had his share of run-ins with Esks wide receiver Ed Hervey over the years. The long-simmering feud was highlighted by Hervey attempting to clobber Sanchez with his helmet during a melee in the 2003 Labour Day game.
But rather than striking Sanchez, Hervey clipped an official. Now they're both wearing the same colour jersey, the only trash-talking will be of the good-natured variety.
"The reason why me and him would have battles is we're both competitors," said the five-foot-11 corner. "I look forward to playing with him. Me and Ed buried the hatchet last year. Once you walk off the field, it's no longer an issue."
Hervey's failed attempt to clock Sanchez cost him roughly $9,000 in salary and a whole lot of embarrassment.
"It was a situation where his team made some threats and he was obligated to get in," explained Hervey, who was on hand for the Sanchez-Fleiszer unveiling. "You've got to admire a guy like that. Even if it was both of us going at it, you want guys like that on your team that are going to stick up for their teammates."
Like Sanchez, Hervey says it's time to move on. He actually lobbied for Sanchez after learning the corner was on the Esks' radar.
"It's the team-first attitude," Hervey said. "This isn't about me and who I want or don't want around. I know that he can help us win football games.
"Once Davis Sanchez gets a chance to understand Ed Hervey and I get a chance to understand him, I think we'll get along just fine."
Sanchez was courted by Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg and his hometown B.C. Lions. In the end, all the green and gold the Esks tossed his direction and the prospect of amassing a sizeable nest egg for life after football proved irresistible.
Sanchez says his age coupled with the four-year term likely means this is the last football contract he'll sign.
"That was the whole idea going into negotiations," noted Sanchez, who played for Montreal last season. "I don't want to jump all around. I'm going to find a home here and build relationships and win lots of football games."
Fleiszer, 29, has seven CFL seasons under his belt. He spent the last two in an Ottawa Renegades uniform and was a starter last season. That Maciocia plans to use him on the edge is one of the reasons he's excited to be in Edmonton.
"It's a position I feel more comfortable at," explained the six-foot-three, 266-pound lineman. "It allows me to play lighter and faster. Plus, they've got a fabulous team here and they're going to compete for the Grey Cup."


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