Reynolds still running full-steam

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

He may be turning 30 right before the Grey Cup and is coming off his first CFL rushing title, but Joffrey Reynolds expects to improve in 2009.

The difference this season is the Stampeders running back has a position coach in Dave Dickenson.

The Stamps haven't had a full-time running backs coach since Gino Divincentis did the job in 2005-06.

Although the coach is a former quarterback, Reynolds expects Dickenson to push him to new heights.

"I will be more prepared mentally, and if I do that, then physically everything will tie in together," said the 29-year-old from Tyler, Texas.

"If you look back to that time (2005-06), it was two of my best years. It's always good to have someone pushing you in the right direction.

"If you let yourself be your own boss, everyone takes a day off now and then. It is good to have someone keep you in check."

Although he led the league in carries last season, Reynolds didn't feel overworked. If anything, he feels there were plenty of times he could have taken a heavier workload.

He's heard many times about how rushers break down when they hit the 30 mark, but he calls that an old myth.

"It's something people that don't pay that much attention to football don't realize. In the past, it used to be 30 years old when guys slowed down," Reynolds said. "Guys take care of their bodies much better now. You train all year round to stay in great shape.

"Even in the NFL, which is more of a banging game, there are a lot of great backs that play well into their 30s. Nobody talks about how old T.O. is (Terrell Owens is 35) but he still leads the league in touchdowns.

"Age doesn't matter. You can get hurt at 21 just as you can at 35."

On draft day this spring, TSN analysts commented the Stamps may be looking to move Reynolds because he wasn't used enough last season and has a high salary.

It's a notion the Stamps shot down, with good reason.

Reynolds' value comes from his consistency.

He hasn't missed a start due to injury since arriving in 2004 and has run for at least 1,200 yards in four straight seasons.

With 6,032 career yards, Reynolds would pass Willie Burden, Lovell Coleman and Earl Lunsford among franchise rushing leaders if he has another 1,000-yard campaign.

Much like Kelvin Anderson, who ran for 8,292 yards with the Stamps, Reynolds isn't the flashiest guy but he's trustworthy to get the job done.

He doesn't know -- or seem to care -- where he sits in the all-time numbers.

"I want to be the best," Reynolds said. "The numbers are going to come if I achieve that. Maybe one day I will look back and realize my place in history."

Dickenson hopes to help Reynolds improve his receiving game. Being that he's heading into the season as the favourite for a second rushing title, it's probably knit-picking to say where Reynolds needs to improve.

"I want to make him better, but that doesn't necessarily mean on the stat sheet. I want him to feel like this offence is set to make plays for him," Dickenson said.

Off-season conditioning is a big reason Reynolds has stayed healthy. He also has another reason.

"You have be blessed. God needs to have his hand on your back," he said. "You also have to prepare your body in the off-season, during the season and take care of yourself.

"Sometimes, you have to play through pain. There is a bit of luck. There isn't a prescription to playing every game. That's the way it falls."

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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