EDMONTON - The league’s leading rusher doesn’t sign with a new team without at least the possibility of becoming its feature running back.
So for all the quotes floating around Commonwealth Stadium about the Edmonton Eskimos signing Cory Boyd as depth and injury insurance, the reality is the Green and Gold may try to go a different direction with their ground game.
Of course, so far everyone has taken the high road in answering questions about how it is going to work with Boyd and Eskimos starting running back Hugh Charles, who split reps right down the middle in practice on Tuesday.
Even Boyd will tell you he’s just here to show what he is capable of, which will be plenty if he can sidestep tackles on the field as well as he can straightforward questions in a media scrum.
“I’m just going to do the best I can here to help this team get more wins and get back to the top elite where they need to be,” said the six-foot-one, 213-pound South Carolina product and native of New Jersey, who topped the CFL’s rushing list at 447 yards on 82 carries for the Toronto Argonauts, ahead of fifth-place Charles’s 400 yards on 84. “If you follow numbers, that’s what this game is about. It’s about inches, numbers and putting up points.”
Just not for the Argos, apparently, who criticized Boyd for his pass-protection ability as part of the reason for his release.
“It was just a bad deal (in Toronto). I felt like I gave them what I could and, hey, somebody has to take the fall on that sword when things don’t go right,” Boyd said. “It’s easy for me to get put under the bus but I have no bad feelings as far as what coach (Scott Milanovich) has to say.”
Then again, it’s not like he had time for any, given he was only unemployed for around 10 hours.
“It was very quick,” Boyd said. “I thought I was going to have a little time to just gather my thoughts. I’m still gathering my thoughts now but I’m so grateful that this organization has reached out for me.”
It’s not like some other team wouldn’t. Or didn’t, because the worst possible scenario is if Boyd doesn’t work out the way they want, at least the Eskimos know they won’t have to play against him while he’s sitting on the end of their bench.
But for now, expect to see No. 28 dressed and ready to go Friday against the visiting Montreal Alouettes.
“We had a brief conversation on the field,” Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed said after getting his first look at Boyd in practice. “And the offensive coaches are advocating him.”
But dressing for a game and starting a game are vastly different.
“I’m OK with it, as long as I have the opportunity to play,” Boyd said. “My thing is always the cream always rises to the top.
“I feel like I’m one of the best all-around backs in this league. If you put the ball in my hands, I’m going to make plays.”
Not that he wants to take anything away from Charles.
“I would love to have a one-two punch, that takes a lot off of me,” Boyd said. “For the past two years, I have been plagued with being injured because I had to carry a whole offence.”