August 13, 2012
Boyd another Messam?
By CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - He’s fought with teammates in the locker room.
He’s had run ins with the coaching staff.
He’d earned a reputation as a bit of a badass.
And that was how Jerome Messam came into the Eskimos camp at the start of the 2011 season.
Eskimos GM Eric Tillman has been to this dance before.
So, it’s really no surprise that Tillman moved with lightning-like speed to pick up Cory Boyd, the CFL’s leading rusher late Sunday.
Boyd had been released by the Toronto Argos earlier in the day with a rap sheet eerily similar to Messam’s.
Below the surface, it’s a vote of confidence in head coach Kavis Reed’s proven ability in second-chance projects.
Messam went on to win the Most Outstanding Canadian award and a shot with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.
Boyd’s presence now leaves some doubt as to how Messam would fit in should he be unable to stick with the Dolphins. Messam had one carry for a two-yard loss in Miami’s pre-season loss to Tampa Bay on Friday.
Boyd arrived in Edmonton late Monday afternoon, after the practice was done, for medicals and his contract signing.
For now, Reed will welcome Boyd to Tuesday’s workout as a chance to fill in a backfield that’s been decimated by injury.
Before the Eskimos acquired Boyd, Hugh Charles and Calvin McCarty were the only healthy backfielders standing.
“At worse, he’s a security blanket for us,” said Reed. “Somebody would have been added to the roster in some way, shape or form.
“It’s our fortune that Cory Boyd was available. If he works within our system, we’ll deem it a successful pickup.”
There’s no question Reed has been happy with how Charles has fit into the team scheme.
“We’re very pleased with Hugh Charles,” said Reed. “He’s done a phenomenal job. He’s only 47 yard behind Cory Boyd as a rusher. I spoke with Hugh about it (Sunday) before it was consummated and he endorsed it 100%.”
Reed discounted the scathing comments about Boyd that retired offensive lineman Rob Murphy made over the weekend.
“I’ve always been told don’t throw stones if you live in a glass house,” said Reed. “I live by the creed that there’s no perfect person and you judge people based on their character — based on your assessment, not somebody else’s.
“If that were the case, trust me, my wife would never have married me.”
Esks quarterback Steven Jyles was an occasional road roommate of Boyd’s when the pair played for the Argos last year and had a different viewpoint than Murphy.
“He’s a leader,” said Jyles. “He’s always been a positive guy. We were very close in Toronto. We hung out on weekends. For him to be here brings more depth to the locker room and brings another guy we can go to.
“He’s a guy I respect. I watched how everybody worked in the locker room and he was a guy that was always positive to me and always wanted to win.”
Personality conflicts are a part of any workplace and although a football locker room presents a heightened level of intensity, it seldom boils over into the public eye.
“It’s part of being a family,” said Jyles. “You’d think what goes on in the locker room stays in the locker room.
"You have your judgment on certain guys. My judgment on Cory is that he’s a winner and I’ll always put a winner on my team. We have great running backs here. To add another great running back ... it’s just like a quarterback. If something happens, another guy can go in.
“For us to get him, it’s a plus. We’re excited for him to be here.”