EDMONTON - For a moment, Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed suggested, he saw his career flash before his eyes.
As defensive back Ronnie Prude lay motionless on the Commonwealth Stadium turf on Friday night, Reed had a eerie deja vu moment.
“I’ve been in that situation,” said Reed. “My career ended in a similar place on the Commonwealth field.”
That was back in 1999, in the fifth season of Reed’s promising career as a cornerback.
Reed was forced to retire from the game he loved after doctors told him the risk of a future neck injury was not worth jeopardizing his long-term health over.
While things didn’t work out for Reed, the diagnosis was much better for Prude, who was discharged from hospital Friday night.
Although the nerve stinger Prude suffered means he’ll be able to play again, it’s a tricky recovery.
Recurring stingers forced former Eskimos great, fullback Blake Marshall, out of the game in 1993.
“Ronnie’s been medically cleared,” said Reed. “Our medical staff did a wonderful job.”
Still, it’s highly unlikely Prude will be able to play when the Eskimos host Montreal Friday night.
“We’ll just keep encouraging him,” said Reed. “The biggest thing is his long-term health. Medically, we have to take things slowly to see how long it will take him to recover. We’re not going to put him in harm’s way.”
Injuries are part of the game and players accept the risk.
“It’s such a misnomer that football is a contact game,” said Reed, putting on his philosopher’s cap. “It’s a collision sport equivalent to somebody crashing into the back of your car at 20 miles per hour (32 km/h for all you kids out there).
“It’s very tough. It’s a gladiator sport.”
Even though the Eskimos have given up just 99 points in their first six starts, Reed singled out his defence for straying from the basics.
And, going a bit too much Hollywood for his liking.
“There’s lots of room for improvement,” said Reed after Friday’s 28-20 win. “I’m not happy about giving up 500 yards total and 400 through the air.”
Considering Saskatchewan’s Taj Smith’s 57-yard reception first bounced up off an Eskimos defender’s leg and into Smith’s arms off another defender’s hand, the passing yardage may have been a bit padded.
“Cory Sheets (76-yard reception) and Darian Durant (27-yard TD scamper) ... our tackling was atrocious,” said Reed.
With a sly grin, the coach put the rap on TV.
“Every time you see sports highlights, it has to be a big hit,” said Reed.
“Tackling has become a lost art.”
Boyd off Esks radar
Cory Boyd may have worn out his welcome in Toronto, but that doesn’t mean the welcome mat is being laid down in Edmonton for the CFL’s rushing leader.
“All seven teams would probably have a look at him,” said Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed, who spent a few minutes Sunday looking at Boyd highlights.
“We’re very pleased with Hugh Charles.”
Judging by a tweet from former Argos offensive lineman Rob Murphy, Boyd rubbed some of his teammates the wrong way.
On a young team like the Eskimos, that’s a factor that may outweigh Boyd’s star quality.
“A team is more than names,” said Reed.
“We have to be very careful who we bring in here. If you aren’t careful, it could upset team chemistry.”
Sounds like it’s up to the other six teams.
Meanwhile, former Eskimos RB Jerome Messam recorded one carry for a two-yard loss in the Miami Dolphins’ Friday night loss to Tampa Bay.
“As coaches, we were saying it’s going to be tough to inject Jerome when he comes back,” said Reed.
ON THE RUN
The injury to Peter Thiel means a heavy workload for Calvin McCarty, the only healthy Canadian fullback left standing. Mathieu Bertrand and Pascal Fils are already on the nine-game injured list.
Receiver Shamawd Chambers, a healthy scratch against Saskatchewan when Greg Carr came off the injured list, may step in for Thiel.
That’s because slotback Dobson Collins is not expected to practise when the Esks gets back to work Monday.
Linebacker Clint Kent may be ready to step off the injured list and draw in the lineup for Prude, who’s expected to go on the injured list.
If Collins is unable to go on Friday, that would leave one import spot open.