Reynolds out as starting Stamps 'back

Long-time Stampeders starting running back Joffrey Reynolds will not be in the starting lineup...

Long-time Stampeders starting running back Joffrey Reynolds will not be in the starting lineup Sunday in Moncton, N.B., when the team takes on the Tiger-Cats. (QMI Agency file photo)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:55 PM ET

MONCTON, N.B. - All good things must come to an end, and it appears Joffrey Reynolds’ long run will do that in the Maritmes.

Only once since 2004 has the starting running back for the Calgary Stampeders been someone other than Reynolds.

That was in 2007, when Reynolds was rested for the final regular-season game as the Stamps headed into the playoffs. Ken Simonton played that game and rushed for 100 yards.

But it will be Canadian Jon Cornish getting the start once head coach John Hufnagel makes the decision official.

No doubt this is the one of the toughest decisions a head coach has to make. Sitting a six-time 1,000-yard rusher and future Hall-of-Famer isn’t easy, and Reynolds never gets hurt.

“It’s difficult (to take emotion out),” Hufnagel said. “I care for my players. When there are difficult decisions, it’s not one that I do without a whole lot of contemplation and loss of sleep.”

In Friday’s practice at Rocky Stone Field, Reynolds didn’t take any reps with the first-team offence, while Cornish and rookie LaMarcus Coker split the duties at running back.

There is no doubt Cornish is ready to be a feature back. The Kansas product ran for 618 yards playing every third series last year, and this year, he’s been on the field even more.

But because Cornish holds Reynolds in such high regard, he was hardly in a celebratory mood after practice.

“I don’t really like the way it came,” Cornish said. “Joffrey still has plenty in the tank. A lot of people can see that.

“There are issues we’re dealing with. We haven’t been running the ball as much. If you look at the numbers, you could say Joffrey has this average (4.8) and Cornish has this average (6.3). That doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s something where I would have liked it to work out differently.”

Hufnagel’s hand was forced a bit due to the rib injury that will keep returner specialist Larry Taylor from playing in Touchdown Atlantic Sunday against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Receiver Landan Talley will dress as a returner, but Coker will be the second player back on kickoffs. Coker provides more flexibility with special teams than Reynolds would.

Reynolds certainly sounds like a player who knows he’s not dressing, but he behaved like a true professional when meeting the media Friday.

“It would be a hard pill to swallow,” Reynolds said about sitting. “You work hard all off-season for this. In life, things don’t always go your way. I will be ready if I do play this week or next week or whenever.

“We have a winning record, and we’re trying to take the steps to be a good football team. I don’t want to be a distraction.”

The question now is if Reynolds does get another chance once he goes out of the lineup.

The soon-to-be 32-year-old has 9,194 career yards, which is good enough for seventh on the all-time list, just behind another Stampeders running back, Kelvin Anderson.

Anderson finished his career with the B.C. Lions in 2003 after the Stampeders released him in training camp.

It will be up to Cornish as to whether Reynolds get another chance with the team.

“However it goes, some people are going to think Joffrey is the best running back the Stampeders have ever had, and I certainly agree with that,” Cornish said.

“If you look at the big picture, Joffrey is a huge part of this team. He’s still a leader on this team, and he’s been here forever.”


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