EDMONTON -- Jerome Messam has returned to Edmonton, but that doesn't mean he's an Eskimo.
At least not yet.
Messam arrived back in Alberta after signing with the Miami Dolphins (NFL) last off-season and was released last week.
The 2011 season was a breakout campaign for Messam after being traded from the BC Lions and to Edmonton. The Toronto, Ontario native racked up 1,057 yards and 8 touchdowns on 195 carries and also added another 248 yards out of the backfield.
Should he once again don an Eskimos unifrom he would be joining a backfield that already carries Hugh Charles, recently-acquired Cory Boyd and Calvin McCarty on its roster.
Despite the crowded backfield, Eskimos Head Coach Kavis Reed states that he wouldn't see Messam's arrival creating any sort of issue.
"It's a good problem to have," said Reed to a scrum of media at Commonwealth Stadium on Wednesday.
"We have the ratio flexibility to field all three on the roster if we deem necessary. Worst-case scenario is we now have depth at that position whereas a couple of weeks ago we only had one person. It's a good situation going down the stretch given our injury situation throughout the year so we'll probably need to call on that," he added.
However, just because Messam has returned to Edmonton, doesn't necessarily mean he will automatically suit up for the Green and Gold in the imminent future.
Reed seemed wary to predict what the future will hold for the bruising tailback.
"That imminent word is dangerous," Reed said with a smile.
"Our backs had a very good game against Toronto, so for us it's about prudence, it depends on whether or not it works ratio-wise for us in terms of having him on versus someone else and whether or not we feel we can get the productivity and the reps we need out of him right now," he added.
While many are focused on the question of when Messam will officially join his teammates on the field, there's still a matter of figuring out exactly how quickly he would be able to rediscover his 2011 form.
Last November, a torn meniscus in his left knee knocked the 27-year-old out for the season, leaving many to wonder if he'd still be able to run at such a ferocious pace.
"He would have to take a physical," admitted Reed.
"Right now, we haven't seen him so until Jerome is back with us and we have a physical taken we really can't answer that," replied Reed when asked about his health.
Through eight games this season, the Eskimos have been receiving strong production from their run game, mainly from Charles, and now, Boyd. Because of that, Reed was hard-pressed to reveal exactly how he feels about Messam's return.
"Jerome was a big part of our team last year, but this team has morphed a bit," noted Reed.
"Jerome decided that he wanted to go try the NFL and for us, we moved on from Jerome at the time, right now, he has to be reintegrated. So excited? We're happy to have him back, but we have to focus on the players that were here and the players that are here currently."
With that, Reed seems stern in the fact that he is confident in the group he currently has.
"We're going to focus on Hugh Charles and Cory Boyd right now. If Jerome is back, we'll work with it."
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|