Seen and Heard
Esks sign NFL veteran Ronnie Heard, hoping he can replace Singor Mobley
By JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA
Ronnie Heard has never heard of Singor Mobley - and maybe that is a good thing.
Signed by the Edmonton Eskimos to replace Mobley at linebacker, Heard doesn't feel any extra pressure as he prepares for training camp.
But the six-year NFL veteran is already showing the type of character head coach Danny Maciocia is looking for this year.
"I am sure he did a tremendous job while he was with Edmonton," said Heard on Mobley.
DOING HIS PART
"I am going to do my part to come in and live up to the potential that people are putting expectations on me to do.
"I always want to exceed what the person in front of me did - whoever laid the groundwork."
Officially announced yesterday by the Green and Gold, Heard comes to the Eskimos with an impressive American resume.
The 30-year-old import has 85 NFL games and 157 solo tackles to his credit.
In 2003 he had three interceptions in one game for San Francisco.
The following year he started 14 games at free safety for the 49ers and recorded 79 tackles.
But he's out of the NFL now because of his salary.
If he were to play a seventh season south of the border, the pay grid would mean he would receive a salary of nearly $700,000 US.
"It's not like I have had any significant injuries," said Heard from his home in Texas.
"I haven't had any surgeries. It's not that I can't still run.
"It really came down to teams not wanting to pay me.
"I felt like you are not paying for my athletic ability - at that point, you are paying for the knowledge that I have."
So, he's coming to Canada - for a fraction of his NFL paycheques.
If he cracks the Eskimos' roster after training camp, his salary will be much less than Mobley's ticket, which was around $90,000 before he was cut earlier this month.
"It has never been about the money," continued Heard, who stands six-foot-three and weighs 215 pounds.
"I enjoy being around the guys and the coaches and learning different philosophies of football."
Understandably excited about his newest recruit, Maciocia will begin training camp with Heard battling Antico Dalton and Marcus Winn at Mobley's old spot.
But Heard brings versatility to the table.
"He can play probably WILL (linebacker), SAM (linebacker). It wouldn't surprise me if he can play halfback," said Maciocia.
Edmonton's bench boss isn't concerned about the fact Heard hasn't played since 2005-06 after apparently holding out for the right offer for 2006-07.
The Eskimos are just hoping Heard will not follow in the footsteps of the majority of the 2005 import defensive recruiting class.
No less than five players - James Whitfield, Sherrod Coates, Dorsett Davis, Reggie Myles and Roosevelt Williams - arrived last year at training camp with game experience in the NFL, but failed to make a major impact.
FINISH LINES: Maciocia has revealed he has signed a couple of more players with NFL experience but they have yet to be officially announced ... Defensive back Reggie Durden - who was sent home during the season last year - is still listed on the Eskimos' 2007 roster on the team website. But don't expect to see him at training camp.