ACHILLES RUPTURE SIDELINES ESKS’ OJO FOR 2016 SEASON
The Edmonton Eskimos have been dealt a major blow to their defensive secondary, as the team confirmed Monday that corner John Ojo has suffered a season-ending ruptured right Achilles.
The injury happened at practice on Monday in Edmonton, as the Eskimos returned to the field following their 23-13 win over the Calgary Stampeders in Saturday’s pre-season game.
Ojo had to be carted off to the field, while it was later confirmed that his injury would be season-ending.
The 26-year-old Tallahassee, Fla. native was a breakout rookie for the Esks’ defence in 2015, recording 41 defensive tackles and five interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown in just his second career game on July 9, 2015 against the REDBLACKS.
Slated to start at corner opposite Pat Watkins, Ojo didn’t take long to earn a reputation for his shutdown ability in 2015, helping the Eskimos rank third in the CFL in total defence with 303.1 net yards allowed per game.
The departure of Ojo adds to the loss of free agent Aaron Grymes, who signed an NFL deal with the Philadelphia Eagles after becoming a free agent on Feb. 9.
The news marks the second time in as many years the Eskimos have lost a star player to a season-ending Achilles injury. This year running back John White is looking to battle back after suffering the same setback a year ago in camp.
A potential option at corner for the Eskimos is Cord Parks, previously a starting cornerback with the BC Lions before being released during the off-season. He was a late free agent addition to the Eskimos and had been slated to start at halfback for the Green and Gold.
Rookie head coach Jason Maas and first-year defensive coordinator Mike Benevides will look to get it all sorted out in time for the team’s pre-season finale vs. Edmonton on June 18. The Esks open their regular season slate with a Grey Cup rematch against the Ottawa REDBLACKS at home on Saturday, June 25.