Cory Boyd rejoining Edmonton Eskimos backfield
By Con Griwkowsky, QMI Agency
|Quarterback Steven Jyles hands off the ball to running back Cory Boyd during an Edmonton Eskimos practice at Commonwealth Stadium on Sept. 6. Boyd was released by team nine days ago, but has rejoined the Eskimos following an injury to HUgh Charles. Ian Kucerak, Edmonton Sun
EDMONTON - For the second time this season, circumstances have made Cory Boyd a member of the Edmonton Eskimos.
Boyd agreed to rejoin the team on Saturday, a scant nine days after he was released by the Green and Gold due to salary cap issues.
Boyd found himself on the outside looking in, a victim of the CFL’s import ratio numbers game.
Boyd was unable to get past the fact Hugh Charles was designated the team’s No. 1 running back and Jerome Messam had value as a Canadian in the position.
The fact that Boyd jumped at another chance to return to the team that cut him less than two weeks ago speaks volumes about how he was treated here in a difficult situation.
“Our team environment is very good,” Eskimos GM Eric Tillman said Sunday. “It’s a solid group of guys who enjoy playing for Kavis (head coach Reed) and his staff. So, when Cory was released, his greatest emotion was disappointment — not anger or frustration.”
With Hugh Charles now questionable for Sunday’s game in Montreal after suffering an undetermined knee injury Friday in Vancouver, the way Boyd handled himself in his first go-round made him a known commodity.
“We felt Cory handled his previous stint in Edmonton very well,” said Tillman. “Instead of complaining, Cory continued to work hard and be supportive of the other two guys.
“With Hugh’s uncertain status, and with Calvin McCarty missing several games due to injury, bringing Cory back was the natural and obvious decision. He knows our offence — so it will be like riding a bike for him from Day 1. Based on how Hugh’s situation unfolds, if we need to go forward with Cory and Jerome as our tailbacks, it’s a combination our coaches feel very comfortable with.”
So, even though it’s not 100% that Boyd will be in the lineup against Montreal, having a player of his proven calibre available beats the alternative.
It has been a curious journey this season for Boyd, who first joined the team the day after he was cut by the Toronto Argos in August.
At the time, Boyd was the CFL’s leading rusher.
Edmonton’s backfield had been decimated by injury and getting a player of Boyd’s calibre seemed like a good idea at the time — if for no other reason than to provide insurance in the backfield.
“It was an unusual situation in that we signed him to complement Hugh, knowing that it’s a long season,” said Tillman. “Shortly after that, Jerome was released by the (Miami) Dolphins and suddenly, we had gone from one tailback to three.”
Once Messam returned to the scene where he’d been the CFL’s most outstanding Canadian player in 2011, the team had a wealth of talent at the position.
What started out as an insurance policy turned into a nightmare and Boyd was eventually released.
“The previous decision to release Cory was 100% cap related,” said Tillman. “We’ve had multiple weeks where we’ve been playing minus 18-20 injuries. That has forced us to constantly change our lineup, our ratio, and to make some tough decisions due to the financial side of the game. No doubt, our depth and cap situation have been stretched to the max this year. But, we’re paid to overcome adversity, and we believe Cory will help us do that.”