Argos' Cory Boyd's got company

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:12 PM ET

PAISLEY, Fla. — Not quite a year ago, Jim Barker couldn’t say enough good things about DeCori Birmingham.

But no sooner had Birmingham started blowing the lid off his talents at the Argonauts’ 2010 training camp, than he was gone.

The Texas native retired suddenly, having no choice but to return home to tend to a serious family matter.

That was 10 1/2 months ago. Birmingham is back in an Argos uniform — which, at the free-agent camp, is a Boatmen T-shirt — trying to make up for lost time.

And wouldn’t you know, he has been doing just that in the sweltering Florida heat.

“DeCori’s job is to come in and challenge (Cory Boyd), and trust me, I am sure he will,” Barker, the Argos’ head coach and general manager, said on Thursday. “Cory got hurt in camp last year, and DeCori was going to be the guy we started the season with.”

Birmingham, who had been referred to by Barker as a “huge bright spot” in camp last June, knows all about Boyd’s excellent first season in the Canadian Football League. Though he was no longer an Argo, Birmingham kept up with the team’s progression through the year and did not have to be told what Boyd did. Boyd had 1,359 yards in rushing, finishing 37 yards behind CFL leader Fred Reid of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

“The best man is going to win that job, and right now, Cory is that guy,” Birmingham said. “When you get 1,300 yards, that’s something that was great to happen for him, but I’m going to go into camp with the mindset that I can compete. I really wanted to be a part of it last year.”

Birmingham doesn’t regret leaving the Argos, but it’s clear the lost opportunity eats at him a bit.

“I was feeling pretty confident in that camp,” the 28-year-old said. “I need to go back and finish. I got everything straightened out at home and it’s fine. I made a promise to the team that I was going to try to come back and make it.”

There are four running backs in the camp, which ends on Friday morning, and another who has been noticeable is Gerald Riggs. He’s the son of Gerald Riggs, a running back who played for the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins and was a three-time Pro Bowl participant.

“I’ve leaned on him a lot,” said the younger Riggs, who has not played football for the past couple of years. “Everybody wants to be around someone who has done it before, and I am blessed to have a father who did it at the highest level.

“I think I have had a good camp and I’m glad Toronto gave me the opportunity. Now we’ll see how it is all going to work out.”


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