Lefsrud returning!?!?(article)

Vicki Hall, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Friday, June 23, 2006
EDMONTON - Kevin Lefsrud and the Edmonton Esk-imos officially split up before training camp. The all-star centre filed his retirement papers, and Danny Maciocia talked at length about life without his outstanding centre.

"When someone breaks up with you, sure, you feel bad," the Eskimos head coach said on May 9. "But when he's gone, he's gone. You move on."

So, if that's the case, why are the two sides still talking? Isn't a breakup a break-up?

Why did Lefsrud show up in the Esk-imos locker-room after the exhibition game against Saskatchewan? And why did team president Rick Le-Lacheur and chief executive officer Hugh Campbell huddle with the retired lineman?

It's too early to bet the farm on it, but no one in the Eskimo locker-room will be surprised to see big No. 65 back in his stall before the summer is up.

In fact, Lefsrud could be in uniform as early as July 20 when the Eskimos host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Commonwealth Stadium.

"I'm still good friends with the bosses," Lefsrud said, from his farm near Viking, about 100 km east of Edmonton. "Nothing was done in hatred, so there's still a relationship there."

Hmm. Doesn't sound too much like irreconcilable differences, does it?

"They're always going to be talking and trying to bring me back," he said. "If it's not this week, it might be next week. If it's not next week, it may be next year. Being young has that effect on people

"But I don't know. The longer I go without playing, the more I don't miss it. I have to do what's best for my family, what's best for the farm and what's best for my health."

At 29, Lefsrud should be in the prime of his career as a CFL bodyguard, but he retired this spring due to increased responsibility on the family farm -- not to mention contract differences with the Esks.

Lefsrud earned about $85,000 last season. The average CFL lineman makes about $95,000. In fact, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats inked former Eskimo and Ottawa Renegade George Hudson to a deal that pays him $125,000 annually plus a $150,000 signing bonus.

Lefsrud and Eskimo management are talking money, and it appears some progress has been made.

"He's got some serious farming to do, that's all I know," Maciocia said. "I mean, the possibility of him coming back always exists."

Even without Lefsrud, the offensive line did a solid job last week in Calgary protecting Ricky Ray, holding the Stamps to two sacks.

Tailback Troy Davis carried the ball eight times for 50 yards. An average of 6. 6 yards per carry is more than respectable.

"I was really impressed with our offensive line," Maciocia said. "If there's a unit that I can say I was satisfied with offensively, it was our offensive line. To think we're just going to get better is so encouraging."

Better with or without Lefsrud, that's the question?

"I'm very good with my decision to retire," Lefsrud said. "It's not like something that's been eating me up inside."

If Lefsrud returns, he's got his eye on mid-July. He figures he would need at least a week of practice before playing a game.

Farming keeps me fit," Lefsrud said. "It's manual labour I'm doing. Ask any construction worker who moves cinder blocks all day. Shoveling grain is like shoveling snow for an hour or two hours. Then you come back and do it again for a few hours.

"But I haven't hit anyone in seven months. I probably would need a couple days of somebody beating the crap out of me or me beating the crap out of them. But as far as getting up to game speed, I'm sure I'd be fine after one or two snaps."

The Esks hope that hiatus on hitting ends. And soon. "It would be great to have him back, but I can't worry about that stuff," said centre Tim Bakker. "I'll worry about that stuff or think about it if it happens."

Wide receiver Ed Hervey echoed those sentiments. "We feel very comfortable with the guys we have," he said. "But Kevin knows how we feel about him in this locker-room, and we know how he feels about us.

"If he were to come back, it would be business as usual. No one would hold anything against him, because we all understand what he has do to for himself and his family."

Giving the guy enough to buy a grain auger going to put the Esks over the cap? LOL

He's not back.. ah well.. too bad, Poor Eskimos..

couldn't leave the farm! :lol:

No big deal. The performance of the esks o-line this year has shut a lot of their critics and doubters up already.

i know our O-Line doesnt need a guy that cant make a damn decision, hey lefty we dont want yah back.

Wow such great team support Rawblablabla!

I bet there are a few teams that would be willing to sign Lefsrud! Maybe he needs to put out feelers with the other teams!

Lefsrud breaks wrist in farm fall

It turns out that farming has become a dangerous occupation for Kevin Lefsrud.

The former starting centre for the Eskimos suffered a broken wrist in a fall on his farm near Viking last week.

"I fell two storeys and came crashing down to the ground," said Lefsrud, who was climbing a ladder that was originally hooked to the top of a grain bin last Monday.

But the safety hook on the bin that was securing the ladder broke, causing the ladder to shift and Lefsrud to jump to avoid falling backward.

He suffered two breaks in one bone in his left wrist and had surgery last Thursday.

"They wired it tight," he said.

Although he's retired and knows head coach Danny Maciocia has apparently shut the door on his return, Lefsrud believes he could be healthy enough to play the final nine games of the season, if he's called upon.