January 23, 2012
Stamps cut RB Reynolds
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
CALGARY - If you were to describe the greatness of Joffrey Reynolds, you could talk about many things.
There was the powerful, smooth stride, how the running back hit the hole with gusto or his incredible durability that never kept him from a start due to injury during an eight-year run with the Calgary Stampeders.
The true testament to what makes Reynolds a Hall-of-Famer was his attitude, especially during the 2011 season.
Reynolds never once complained when his starting job was handed over to the Jon Cornish, a running back who has similar qualities but is a non-import and has the benefit of being younger with fresher legs.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that all Reynolds had to say Monday upon his outright release by the Stamps was a simple statement on his Twitter account.
“Appreciate the love from all the Stamp fans. Thanks for making my experience in Calgary a great one,” Reynolds wrote.
As always, Reynolds goes about things quietly.
Stamps GM-head coach John Hufnagel has such high regard for the 32-year-old Houston product that he sent out feelers around the league to see if a trade could be worked out.
Although nothing materialized, Hufnagel has now given him three weeks before CFL free-agency starts to find a new gig.
“Joffrey did great things for us,” Hufnagel said. “He handled last season the way Joffrey always does. He’s a great teammate, this year especially.”
Reynolds leaves the Stamps as the franchise’s all-time leading rusher with 9,213 yards, including six straight 1,000-yard seasons,
Late in 2004, Reynolds solidified the position that had been in flux since the team released Kelvin Anderson during the previous season’s training camp.
In 2010, Reynolds passed Anderson on the Stamps list and he needs just 117 yards to catch him for sixth on the CFL’s all-time rushing list.
Now, the baton is passed to Cornish, who showed during the 2011 season he’s capable of great outings. The 27-year-old ball-carrier needs to prove he can be as durable as Reynolds and Anderson before him.
“It’s going to be different,” Cornish said about not having Reynolds as his battery-mate at McMahon Stadium. “He taught me a lot about being a better player, but the most profound thing is he taught me to be the consummate teammate.
“Even after he ceased being the starting guy, he never ceased being a leader on the team. He was well-respected and well-liked by everyone. That’s something I’m not trying to necessarily replace but kind of follow.”
This might not be the end for Reynolds, although only running backs considered the best of the best play professionally into their mid-30s.
Anderson finished his stellar career with one season playing for the B.C. Lions.
Cornish is certain Reynolds could help someone this season.
“There are a few teams that can benefit from his presence,” Cornish said. “I would be surprised if someone didn’t pick him up.
“A year ago, his numbers were as good as ever in terms of speed and strength.”
With Reynolds’ release, this continues a busy off-season for the Stampeders, but Hufnagel feels the biggest moves have now been made.
Reynolds — just like Henry Burris at the quarterback position — made it hard on the coach to pull him out the lineup because of his consistent health.
Although Reynolds was explosive, he basically did everything well from blocking to receiving.
And he just never, ever got hurt, no matter who was crashing into him.
“It’s remarkable he was able to do that,” Hufnagel said. “That was part of the greatness of Joffrey.
“Not only did he have ability, he had durability. You could depend on him each and every game.”
But now that era is over.
On Twitter @SUNIanBusby