EXCLUSIVE: Ed Hervey breaks silence for first time since Eskimos firing

Jason Gregor, Special to 3DownNation

Jason Gregor hosts The Jason Gregor Show on TSN1260 in Edmonton weekdays from 2-6 p.m. Follow him on Twitter @JasonGregor.

It has been just over three months since Edmonton Eskimos President Len Rhodes dismissed Ed Hervey as General Manager. It was a surprising move considering Hervey had built a championship team. The Eskimos were 36-18 the past three seasons, made it to the divisional each of those seasons and won a Grey Cup in 2015.

When Rhodes announced his decision on April 7th, he said, “Winning is not enough, we have to do more than have a winning product on the field. Two major reasons drove this decision. First, both parties could not agree to contract extension terms. And secondly, there were differences in philosophy in the way we do business.”

Hervey didn’t make a statement or do interviews at the time, but last week I met him on a patio of a downtown restaurant to find out what he has been up to, his future plans and get his thoughts on being let go.

One week before Hervey was dismissed I ran into him in a parking lot. He was going to get a prescription from the pharmacy. He’d been diagnosed with pneumonia and he looked run down. When I met him last week on the patio he looked much healthier and was in great spirits.

“I’ve been spending quality time catching up with friends and family,” smiled Hervey. “My hands were full leading the Eskimos. I often worked 14 hour days seven days a week. I fell ill in late March and did not take a day off. I owed it to myself to take some time and rejuvenate and now I feel great,” said Hervey.

Hervey spent 18 seasons with the Eskimos as a player, scout and general manager. He won two Grey Cups as a player and one as GM. Joining the team in 1999 changed his life. He’s made Edmonton his home. Not being a part of the organization is odd for him, but Hervey stated change can be good and leads to new opportunities.

He was extremely proud to receive the GM title in 2013.

“I played eight amazing seasons in Edmonton. Then I took advantage of an opportunity to remain with the organization as scout. I worked hard preparing myself to be General Manager. I’ll admit I placed an incredible amount of pressure on myself to shift the culture by placing the focus back on team success, winning games and Grey Cups. I had a plan to bring together a department that won a Grey Cup title in three years or less and we met that goal, that was not only a plan, that is Eskimos Football,” said Hervey.

Hervey believes strongly in the Eskimos way. Some might think that is just a saying, but for Hervey it wasn’t.

“Over my 18 years with the Eskimos the two men I’ve learned the most from were Hugh Campbell and Rick LeLacheur. Hugh brought to me to Edmonton and as a player I was given the opportunity to observe his football acumen and leadership and he instilled within me the Eskimos Way. Rick and Danny Maciocia offered me my first position in football operations. I learned a great deal from Rick about the business side of the CFL and to this day we stay in touch and I could always pick up the phone and call him when I had questions,” explained Hervey.

Hervey’s main job was football operations. When he was hired in 2013 he inherited an organization in shambles. The Eskimos were terrible on the field and in disarray off the field. His main focus was changing the culture.

What was he most proud of during his tenure as GM?

“I have never been a person who pursued attention for individual accomplishments.  But obviously, being a leader for the coaches, players and staff who won the Grey Cup would be at the top of the list.  It was an honour to lead football operations and watch it advance into one of the most efficient operations in the CFL. I am also proud to have left the department in great shape with my friend head coach Jason Maas, his coaching staff and a great core of players,” said Hervey.

What did he learn about himself? How he is different now compared to the man who took the job in 2013? He laughed before responding.

“I’ve had many great experiences over the last few years. Before I took over as General Manager in 2013, I was naïve and overlooked the machinations that go on within an organization. I have a profound understanding of those machinations now and I have a gained a tremendous amount of experience that I will take into the next chapter of my career,” answered Hervey.

Does he have any regrets, is there anything he’d approach differently?

“I do have one regret. Not winning the Grey Cup in 2016. I could have done more to help our team win. Otherwise, I am pleased with my effort as GM of the Edmonton Eskimos. Our fans expected and anticipated competitive teams who could win the Grey Cup…. mission accomplished,” said Hervey.

I followed up and asked about the dressing room access. He paused, “No comment.”

In December, 2016 I was one of six media members who met with Hervey and Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Rose Mary Phillip, at the Eskimos office. We were told the dressing room would be re-opened to media in 2017. A source from the CFL head office confirmed the same was said during a league meeting in early December. I’ve always found it odd when Rhodes suggested fan, media and sponsor access was a reason to fire the GM, when in December the Eskimos told six reporters the room would be open. It never passed my smell test.

Hervey did speak passionately when I asked him about his staff.

“I would like to thank the hardworking employees of the Edmonton Eskimos, specifically those in Football Operations.  Thank them for all their sacrifices over the years. Without your care, hard work, late nights and early mornings, we would not have been able to meet our goals.  Please know that I have the highest respect for you all.  I will miss you.  As the saying goes, “Once an Eskimo Always an Eskimo,” said Hervey.

He also had a message to Edmonton and the fans.

“Thank you for adopting me into your community and for your eighteen years of support throughout my career with Eskimos. You have fostered my growth on-and-off the field. I am fortunate and eternally grateful to the fans of this wonderful city.

“Thank you all for giving me the opportunity and patience to build a championship football team.  I am humbled by all the passionate support and respect for my straight forward and honest approach in dealings with the team, league and community. I always heard you and your desires for the team. The staff, coaches and players worked tirelessly to exceed your wants and expectations for our team. Every decision I made was based on building winning football teams.”

What is next for Hervey?

He has had discussions with a few CFL teams, but for now he is enjoying a less hectic schedule. He hopes to return to football soon.

Jason Gregor hosts The Jason Gregor Show on TSN1260 in Edmonton weekdays from 2-6 p.m. Follow him on Twitter @JasonGregor.

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54 Comments on EXCLUSIVE: Ed Hervey breaks silence for first time since Eskimos firing

  1. grumblingaboutgreen // July 10, 2017 at 3:22 pm //

    a WHOLE lot of EMPTY RESPONSES aka NON ANSWERS in this interview! but mr HERVEY knows how the game is PLAYED and how to represent HIMSELF and his ORGANISATION well on the interview tape.

    hey if “ONCE an eskimo ALWAYS an eskimo” what happened with JONES? he was sporting double ES last time he WON the grey cup WASNT he? SURELY somebody who is a CLASS ACT with a CLASSY organisation wouldnt just TAKE the money and RUN after achieving the sports HIGHEST honour because it is a TEAM sport and not about PERSONAL aggrandisement…

    • George Porge // July 10, 2017 at 6:21 pm //

      There are always people in an organization who are about themselves and always will be about themselves. Jones is one of these people (remember him travelling with the Grey Cup to his home state and wearing Rider gear while showing it off?)

      I guess if it were all about football, Hervey would still be at the Eskimos’ helm.

    • BleedzGreen // July 10, 2017 at 9:50 pm //

      FUNNY, I didn’t see ANYTHING in this ARTICLE about JONES.

      • haters gotta hate, it’s like a drug. What they fail to mention is the Jones left for a better opportunity where he was handed the keys to the Rider organization as opposed to just the head coach. They also fail to mention that he was only with the club for 2 years and 3 other CFL teams before that. Unlike Hervey who was only ever involved with the Eskimos.

        • George Porge // July 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm //

          So Jones jumped from team to team because of better opportunities for himself, while Ed Hervey remained loyal to his team.

          I think you just made my point for me.

  2. Darrell // July 10, 2017 at 3:29 pm //

    I was hoping this would be a little more insightful into what happened but Hervey clearly doesn’t want to burn any bridges or make himself look bad for potential other teams. The comments on media access and the December meeting are very interesting.

  3. Not much at all in the interview. Sounded like an infomercial with no substance.

  4. I suspect Eskimos paid Hervey to not rip them. I’d bet he got a payout above what his salary was to not rip Len Rhodes and call him out for being a liar. Smart move by Hervey. I bet he resurfaces within a year.

  5. Scottsask // July 10, 2017 at 3:44 pm //

    Smart guy then.

  6. jonny24 // July 10, 2017 at 3:51 pm //

    Bob Young should give this guy a call.

  7. Can’t wait for Chris Jones exit interview, should be real soon.

    • grumblingaboutgreen // July 10, 2017 at 4:06 pm //

      i would LIKE to see that IMPERSONATOR give us a PREVIEW of jones reaction when he is SHOWN the DOOR! and then we will SEE if the REAL DEAL lives up to it ONE of these days

      • Use your inside voice.

      • grumbling. Complain about Jones all you want..He’s not going anywhere any time soon. The team is much, much better. And will be rattling off wins left and right. The rest of the league will be feeling his wrath. The stumps are lucky they aren’t facing us this week.

        • Hors E Power // July 11, 2017 at 11:48 am //

          But we do next week. I will admit this time around I will take personal glee in not watching the stamps win; but in watching the riders lose. I say run up the score too. He and his oligarchs (fans)deserve it

          • Thats what i’m saying.. I’ll take that extra pleasure knowing we killed the stumps. As you put it, I hope we run up the score on you guys. Those ignorant stumps fans need a good reality check. 😉

        • Hors E Power // July 12, 2017 at 1:59 pm //

          lol he will go at the first hint of a better opportunity. Or get fired. Whichever comes first

        • Angelo Mosca // July 12, 2017 at 4:51 pm //

          Jones won’t be coaching to see another win this season except another possibility on September 15.

  8. the paw // July 10, 2017 at 4:14 pm //

    Yeah, I pretty much agree with the consensus that this is a puff piece. It’s not a patio interview, it’s a scripted release by Hervey, platitudes from start to finish.

    I don’t fault him for not going into the gory details, it is the professional way to handle yourself, but to bill this as an “exclusive” breaking of the silence is bait and switch.

  9. Bruce Winter // July 10, 2017 at 4:46 pm //

    Hervey was fired because he embarrassed the Eskimos. He deliberately upstaged a league program to Mic the coaches and give fans insight into the game they had not previously had. He lacked the insight to understand and connect the dots between Television programming, media access. and revenue. He belittled that program saying it wasn’t adding anything to the broadcast. That’s his opinion. He’s entitled to it. What he missed is the League, the Broadcaster, his organisation, supported it. Hervey has no background in that area. That is understandable. He failed to understand how important his actions were to the Eskimos Board of Directors. He allowed Jason Mass to mock the league, during the last game of the season, with by not talking, even though he was wearing a microphone. Winning is not enough, is not that difficult to understand. The cliche in sports in the team first. Hervey lost his way, there. He was the team leader, and failed to lead, by not understanding how pro football works, how on the field and off the field work together. Perhaps getting fired will inspire and more balanced approach in the future.

    • Maybe he did embarrasse Orridge, Len Rhodes, and TSN. I for one didn’t care for the idea after watching the first mic game. Im proud of the way Jason Maas and Ed Hervey stuck to their guns. Hervey will resurface and show that he is great for this league.

      • George Porge // July 11, 2017 at 12:27 pm //

        The league is more than just the Commissioner, a team CEO, and a broadcaster. The league itself represents every team, so Maas and Hervey embarrassed eight other teams with their antics as well.

      • Brent Smith // July 11, 2017 at 7:59 pm //

        Really? What does putting a mic on a coach add to the game? He built a winning attitude and team with the Eskimos, which is worth a lot more than listening to a coach send in a play that we don’t understand any of the terminology with the play. Do you think mikeing coaches puts fans in the stands? This man has a back bone. Good luck to you Ed.

        • George Porge // July 11, 2017 at 8:40 pm //

          “Really? What does putting a mic on a coach add to the game?”

          Whether it adds something to the game or not has nothing to do with it. It is a gimmick that the entire league (and by extension, the teams) agreed to. When you’re part of something bigger than yourself, but you don’t agree with the consensus of everyone else, you don’t piss and moan and act like a baby and then go against that consensus. You deal with it. Eight other teams did just that, even though most of the coaches of those teams didn’t like it.

          Maas and Hervey decided to play “special snowflake” for two games.

  10. Ed is a bright guy and excellent talent evaluator. I wish him well thank him for his contributions to the Eskimos and league!

  11. Hors E Power // July 10, 2017 at 5:34 pm //

    Ed Hervey was a great GM. He had everything Edmonton wanted in a GM . Being a born and raised Eskimo gave him that loyalty and bloodline the Eskimos always look for.
    It was a perfect match. Ironicly this quality of loyalty was his undoing; hiring the antihesis of loyalty for his coach. Chris jones. Jones was packing his bags for Regina while the rest of the
    team was packing it’s bags for Winnpeg. Jones did what Jones does, left a team in ruins.

    • Horsee, you’re really an Eskimos fan. Finally, the truth comes out. That’s why you’re so bitter about the Riders and Jones leaving for greener pastures. You’re an imposter. Green and Gold, Horsee. Green and Gold!!!

      • Hors E Power // July 10, 2017 at 11:42 pm //

        Yeah sure!
        My dislike of Jones goes beyond anything that personal. I don’t think he’s good for the league.
        The CFL will always be in a somewhat precarious position and guys like Jones would leave the league in ruin if it benefited them. He’s dangerous

        • Yeah…Because he, himself is that “dangerous” to the league. Give your head a shake you dumb ass.

          • Green&GoldAlberta // July 13, 2017 at 5:30 am //

            First of all – Chris Jones and his staff were held up by a Ed…Chris was able to coach, he could handle that…alone.
            NOW, did you know this? Saskatchewan was talking to Chris prior to the Grey Cup? BUT, MORE THAN THAT, Saskatchewan called LEN RHODES and asked for permission to talk to Chris 2 WEEKS PRIOR to GC! BUT>>>wait for it….Len Rhodes didn’t tell ANYONE on staff or the board until a few days AFTER the GC win….

            So think about that, 3 weeks of lost time…1 of those weeks during Grey Cup, where if Ed had of been given the “heads up” by Len Rhodes that his coaching staff was being courted, ED COULD HAVE ALSO BEEN COURTING… LEN IS A FOOL

  12. Because this firing had to do with Chris Jones? Just reading the article, I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with him. Horsie or whatever your name is now… Why would you even bring it up? Is it really you have a secret crush on him? It sure seems so.

    • Hors E Power // July 10, 2017 at 6:36 pm //

      Its a big factor yes. Jones betrayal set the Eskimos back without question. If esks had been better last year this firing would never had happened.
      Jones lack of loyalty and betrayals always collateral damage behind. Remember that! If he doesn’t get fired first it WILL happen to the Riders

    • Rob, he’s and Eskimos fan. He just pretends to like the Stampeders. Horsee finally came out of the closet.

      • BleedzGreen // July 10, 2017 at 10:36 pm //

        No no Rob might be on to something here. Maybe Hors E Manure is sweet on our Jones. A BROmance explains a lot… He never stops talking about Jones!

        • Hors E Power // July 11, 2017 at 12:02 am //

          You should be as concerned as me. A cavalier attitude towards Jones could destroy this league

          • He does have a Bromance on ol Jonesie. He just won’t admit it. Its to bad, I think this site would be in a better position, if he just came out already.

      • Hors E Power // July 10, 2017 at 11:43 pm //

        Enjoy your bye week Greenrider89

  13. BleedzGreen // July 10, 2017 at 6:48 pm //

    Very enlightening interview – NOT!

    Hilarious analysis from the resident troll.

    Ed Hervey remains a class act in my books.

  14. Dano 1906 // July 10, 2017 at 6:54 pm //

    Lost a lot of respect for Jason because of this article. Reads like Ed bought lunch no doubt.

  15. That article was an Ed Hervey commercial as he looks for another football job. Zero substance!

  16. Zenon Andrusyshyn // July 11, 2017 at 8:51 am //

    I had conversation with Mr. Hervey regarding a 1982 Grey Cup ring that I did not receive. He said if I received approval from GM Norm Kimbal and Coach Hughey Campbell he would approve it. I did and received approval. He then said he would not do it. I even asked if I could pay for it myself and he refused.
    He had NO PEOPLE SKILLS. It was win-win situation for him and the Eskimos. I thought to myself this guy will not last in the CFL. I was right and anyone who places him in a leadership position will suffer for it. I enjoyed my short time with the Eskimos but this situation left a bad taste in my mouth.

    • CFLs Best since 1990 // July 12, 2017 at 2:16 pm //

      The Big Z!

      Interesting. Tidbits like this may represent the real story even more so than the article itself. The front lines are often revealing, and we rarely get those insights. Thanks for sharing.

    • Green&GoldAlberta // July 13, 2017 at 5:37 am //

      BULLSHIT Story! Please fast forward 35 years and manage your present live! No one remembered you. PERIOD.

    • You mean Norm Kimball who was last Esks GM in 1985??? Ed started as scout with the Eskimos in 2017. Who are you trying to kid here? If getting your supposed Grey Cup ring was so important to you why did you wait 22 YEARS to bring it up? If i was a player and i was due a ring i would have brought it up right away not waited 22 YEARS? LOL

  17. What a shame to be treated with such disrespect. Thx for the insight.

    Good that Herpes got canned. And yet people think he’s a class act without knowing anything about him. Good for Rhodes in recognizing this. Bet Maas was all ears after the firing…oh wait.

  18. Ed Hervey was given a chance to do an informational on Jason Gregors show. Poor Ed claimed to put in 14 hour days.Sorry Ed:: It is the quality of the time that counts — not the amount.

  19. No doubt he out in 14 hours per day. I am sure Jason and his coaching staff are working similar hours. That’s football. Eskimos will be and have already started to build better ties to the community, post Hervey. This was lacking during his tenure. The man did a very solid job putting together a winner on the field. The same will always be expected but making the Eskimos’ organization a community leader is also a job requirement.

  20. Green&GoldAlberta // July 13, 2017 at 4:23 am //

    I read some of the comments above and I am so disheartened with the negativity that some cast on Ed.

    Fact: He did put in 14 hours a day AND he worked 7 days per week. He also spent a ton of time in the community, helping out schools and communities in quiet ways…like personally buying sports equipment for entire schools. He didn’t want the attention, he wanted to genuinely help and make a positive impact. He didn’t advertise or sensationalize much of what he did because it made him uncomfortable (please see his roots) BUT MORE THAN that, it would have made the kids and the community uncomfortable.

    Fact: Ed Hervey will stand as a legend for the Esks. He disgraced the team??? Get a grip! He took a disorganized, divided, unsuccessful organization and team and rebuilt it…into a highly successful, focused, respected team (who he personally fought for) and they won a GC. The coach did not want to wear the mic, he supported his coach’s decision. (NOTE: there was not a contract signed by EH saying that he would do this in the first place) ALSO! Have any of you negative jerks heard of strategy? — While teams watch each other’s film all week for “tells” and “signs” as to what there plays might be…shit, great idea, let’s just let them listen live!

    Fact: LEN RHODES IS A LIAR. Please list the Top 5 Accomplishments, the Top 5 Community Activities (with impact) and the Top 5 Moments WHERE LEN RHODES BLED GREEN AND GOLD??? NEVER!

    FACT: LEN RHODES cannot talk to ANYONE about the Ins and Outs of football for more than 30 seconds. He doesn’t know the sport.

    SHAME ON YOU to the negative jerks on here. Shame on you.
    Perhaps stop getting super drunk with Len Rhodes and maybe between you guys, you can figure out how a winning team is made. SHAME ON YOU!

    • Now here is a passionate fan! I love it! This is what this site is supposed to be. Not all of this Trolling crap. Thank you Green&GoldAlberta.

    • CFLs Best since 1990 // July 15, 2017 at 6:19 pm //

      And you trashed the Big Z… I remembered him, but I guess I don’t count?

      You are right about Hervey getting results. Can’t deny that. That doesn’t mean Big Z’s allegations aren’t true, either. And you trashed him with great disdain, and BTW, I remembered him… so “no one remembers” would be incorrect as well. Nevertheless, Hervey built a winning team, and that’s where it all starts. Maybe one day the EE will have an organization like Calgary’s, but you’ll need classy, quality people in order to do it. Sounds like you don’t think the EE head guy meets those criteria. Damned shame, huh?

  21. I’m still angry about the letting go of Hervey. I’m a big fan of him. Haven’t been paying much attention to the season. Waiting patiently for the firing of Len Rhodes.

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