Lloyd vows to be better

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:19 PM ET

EDMONTON - Last year the Edmonton Eskimos made a big deal about signing free agent Mo Lloyd.

Turned out they got Less Lloyd.

This year, Edmonton decided to keep Lloyd employed for a lot less money and for his promise that he’ll be much Mo Eskimo.

“(2009) was a bad year,” said Lloyd.

“I have to be a better player.

“I have to get back to being the player I was in 2007 and 2008. Last year I wasn’t that player.”

Lloyd decided to bare his soul on the subject to the Sun on Tuesday, admitting to taking a haircut in signing a new two-year deal for about 25% fewer dollars. He also promied he’ll be back to being 100% the player the Eskimos thought they were getting from Saskatchewan.

Lloyd also emphasized the people he plays with will be getting a better teammate with the bargain, too.

“Last year there were huge expectations on my shoulders with the contract I signed and I don’t think I ended up being a very good player or teammate. I let a lot of players down last year with missed tackles and blown assignments,” he continued to confess in the one-on-one interview with the Sun.

“Last year I didn’t come out and play like the middle linebacker I’d been in the previous place I played.”

That was Saskatchewan where Richie Hall was the defensive co-ordinator.

Lloyd followed Hall here when he was named head coach of the Eskimos.

“He didn’t play the way he’s capable of playing,” said Hall.

“We don’t look for excuses. I don’t know if it was because of all the hype or coming to a new team, but he didn’t play well. He needs to get back to playing consistent like he played in Saskatchewan. He wasn’t the same player that he was the three years before he came here.”

Lloyd said accepting the new contract illustrates he’s planning to be less of a me-me-me player this year.

“I took a reality check. No man is bigger than the team, no matter how much or how little he makes.

“I have to be more humble to outsiders and get back to being the kind of player I want to be. I want my teammates to believe and trust in me and I think it starts with me looking to believe and trust in them.

“This year I demand myself to be the best middle linebacker in the CFL,” said Lloyd, a CFL all-star in 2008.

“I can’t give you a reason why last year I didn’t play the way I should play. But I know what I have to do. I have to go back to the basics. Last year I was definitely below average. I don’t want to play average. I want to play great. I can’t just be a player who shows up once in a while,” he added.

Lloyd said part of his inspiration to be Mo Eskimo is what he sees happening here this year with the already sold out Grey Cup game and the the $100 million plus in improvements to Commonwealth Stadium including new dressing room, FieldTurf, meeting rooms, offices and field house which will make the set-up here the envy of most NFL teams.

“Being part of this team this year when we’re getting the best of everything makes you think of giving the extra effort to the people in this city who are going to such an extent toward making us comfortable.”

Hearing stuff of such substance come out of the mouth of Maurice Lloyd is rather remarkable and GM Danny Maciocia is delighted to hear such voluntary comment from the 27-year-old prime-of-his-career player. Especially the part in reference to his becoming an Eskimo because he most certainly didn’t carry himself like one last year.

“I sat down with him at the end of the season and put it on the table. I want him to be an Eskimo. We look for people to be an Eskimo,” said Maciocia.

It was something Maciocia said he had to figure out when he first came here as an assistant coach.

“I was a guy who came from a different organization who maybe made mention of that organization too many times. One day Ed Hervey took me aside and said ‘It’s different here. You have to do it the Eskimo way.’ He explained part of it is the way you carry yourself, that receivers don’t dance in the end zone with choreographed production numbers and Edmonton players don’t say too much about our opponents in addition to the way we relate to each other on and off the field.

“I’m pulling for him. You don’t see athletes every day say what Maurice Lloyd decided to say,” Maciocia said, reacting to his comments. “They’re few and far between.”

So are great CFL middle linebackers.

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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