Edmonton Eskimos cash crunch costs Cory Boyd his job

Cory Boyd was released by the Toronto Argonauts earlier this season, only to return to Toronto a...

Cory Boyd was released by the Toronto Argonauts earlier this season, only to return to Toronto a few weeks later as part of the Eskimos lineup. (QMI Agency)

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:47 PM ET

Ever since he got to Edmonton, Cory Boyd has been the kind of player who would give a teammate the shirt off his back.

Only now, it no longer has a number on it after the running back was released by the Eskimos on Thursday.

“Since arriving here, Cory has been nothing but a professional,” said head coach Kavis Reed of the six-foot-one, 209-pound product of South Carolina. “A star player in this league who accepted a third (running back on the depth chart) role and did a phenomenal job being a part of the locker-room.

“So it was an extremely difficult decision.”

Boyd joined the Eskimos back in August after initially being released by the Toronto Argonauts, despite leading the league in rushing with 447 yards on 82 carries to go with a pair of touchdowns and a fumble.

In green and gold, Boyd had just 18 carries for 76 yards as he never quite found his niche on a team that already had Hugh Charles and welcomed back non-import Jerome Messam from Miami Dolphins training camp a week later.

“There is only one football and Hugh Charles has done a phenomenal job as a running back, as a receiver out of the backfield,” Reed said. “As a Canadian, it's easier to get (Jerome) on the field than it is an American like Cory.”

So it came as no surprise that Boyd — who still sits 10th overall in league rushing — was first in line for an Eskimos firing squad caught in a salary-cap crunch while looking to bring some players back from injury.

“We tried for a couple weeks to be able to accommodate all three and use them as weapons,” Reed said. “But in our game it's very difficult to carry three running backs and successfully have them be on the field at the same time.”

The failed experiment was nicknamed the three-headed monster.

“It was crazy, but I always go into anything hoping for the best but expecting the worst, but I found my way to the starting position and it could have been taken away at any minute,” said Charles, who sits fifth among CFL rushers with 700 yards on 146 carries and has 513 more yards on 31 catches. “I feel sorry for him, but that's the nature of the business.

“I'm sure he's going to keep working on trying to find another team to keep playing because he's still young and he's talented.”

While the Eskimos running back picture has finally become clear, it's bitter sweet for those remaining.

“It lightens things up in the backfield, but it's not a good day,” said Messam, who himself, has similar numbers as Boyd did, with 74 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in five games. “It's tough when you lose somebody in the locker-room. Cory's a friend of mine and we also play the same position.

“I don't think it made any difference in our production, what was going on.”

IN AND OUT: The Eskimos also released DB Ronnie Prude on Wednesday. In five games, he had a dozen tackles, a special-teams tackle, a knockdown and contributed one tally to the CFL's leading interception-earning defence.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca

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