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Second Year In A Row CFL Team Drafts Dead Player

March 14, 1996 GMT

TORONTO (AP) _ For the second time in a year, a CFL club has drafted a dead player.

The Montreal Alouettes selected defensive end James Eggink of Northern Illinois in the fifth round of the league’s Canadian college draft on Thursday, only to learn a few hours later that the player had died of cancer last December.

The Ottawa Rough Riders selected defensive end Derrell Robertson in the Las Vegas Posse dispersal draft April 18. Robertson had died Dec. 5, 1994, in a car crash.

CFL spokesman Jim Neish said the league didn’t learn of Eggink’s death until after the draft.

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``It’s an unfortunate situation but unfortunately neither we nor any other club knew what had happened,″ Neish said. ``Even the school wasn’t aware of it.″

Alouette officials were informed of Eggink’s death after a football coach at Concordia University was looking over the team’s selections and noticed Eggink’s name. He called Alouettes officials, who in turn notified the CFL.

Alouettes owner Jim Speros said he had called the Eggink family to apologize.

``I’m a little upset and embarrassed as an owner, no doubt,″ Speros said from Montreal. ``I’m not making excuses, but the difference between this and the Las Vegas draft is that there are 560 names on this list.

``The research process can be very difficult. It’s not as easy as people think. I think we as a league have to hire more people because Ed (CFL vice-president of football operations Ed Chalupka) is overworked and underpaid.

``What happened last year with the Las Vegas situation, that’s inexcusable. If that happens again, then yes the media should rip us. But there were a lot more names on this list.″