Cory Boyd has come to terms with his stunning departure from the Toronto Argonauts and is prepared to bring plenty of “peace, love and joy,” to his new CFL home.
Boyd met with Edmonton reporters Tuesday for the first time since agreeing to terms with the Eskimos late Sunday night. That move came hours after the Argos’ shocking decision to release Boyd, twice a 1,000-yard runner with the club and the league’s rushing leader this season who was on pace for more than 1,300 yards.
Boyd, 27, says while he still doesn’t understand the move he’s okay with it, sort of.
Boyd is fine with comments made by some former teammates and the speculation surrounding why he was let go, which has ranged from missed blocking assignments on the field to Boyd having personal issues in the dressing room.
“I’m a guy who stays to myself, I’m a loner and I guess that rubbed people the wrong way when they wanted to go do things, hang out,” Boyd said. “I like to stay to myself and work on football. It’s okay, people are going to say things.
“I’m always open and very blunt and I think that ruffled the feathers of some people. But I’m very respectful, I just expect that when people say certain things to me, we can all be on the same page with peace, love and joy.”
Boyd’s harshest critic has been Rob Murphy, the recently retired former Argos offensive lineman who called Boyd a “fraud,” on his Twitter account.
“He’s a soft-hearted guy who tries to make himself hard,” Boyd said of Murphy. “I read on Twitter he said I was a fraud. I’m not a fraud.
“I have a past. Everybody knows my past, I’m not going to hide from my past and it was a shocker to him because he knows I’m a Christian man and I think that ruffled his feathers because he once prided himself on being whatever he prided himself on being. When he found out I wasn’t as holy in my past he wanted to hold it against me. It’s OK, everybody has their opinions.”
On Sunday, Toronto head coach Scott Milanovich said while Boyd was a great runner there was more to playing tailback than just running the football. With the Argos’ offensive attack firmly centred around veteran quarterback Ricky Ray — one of the most accurate passers in CFL history — questions had surfaced about Boyd’s blocking ability.
But Boyd suggested he had become the scapegoat for Toronto’s other problems.
“As a running back you’re asked to pick up a lot of slack when your line is not performing as much as they’re supposed to,” he said. “I had five guys in front of me busting their tails, doing the best they can do . . . and a lot of time they wanted me to pick up protection from other guys and I was able to do that.
“Somebody had to take the fall when things don’t go right. It’s easy for me to be put under the bus on that one but I have no bad feelings. I know I’m a great back, I know I can block, I know I can catch, I feel like I’m one of the best all-around backs in this league. Whatever I lack I’m just going to have to keep working harder and that’s all I’m going to say.”
Boyd certainly has a lot of ground to make up considering Edmonton hosts the Montreal Alouettes on Friday night, but he’s expecting to be ready.
Boyd joined the Argos in 2010 and surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing plateau in each of the last two seasons. Through six games, he had run for a CFL-high 447 yards on 82 carries with two touchdowns.
He joins an Edmonton team that has been reduced to just two healthy running backs but one is Hugh Charles, who trails Boyd by just 47 rushing yards and isn’t about to give up his starting job.
“We’re very pleased with Hugh Charles,” said head coach Kavis Reed. “He’s done a phenomenal job.
“I spoke with Hugh about it (Sunday) before it was consummated, and he endorsed it 100 per cent.”
Boyd is fine with being the backup so long as he gets the chance to play.
“My thing is always that the cream rises to the top,” he said. “I’m not coming to try to be the premiere back. I’m just going to work my tail off, as I always have and always will.
“If it’s a quarter they put me out there, if it’s just selected plays, I always say if you put the ball in my hands I’m going to make plays, that’s what God has created me to do, make plays.”
Boyd said in his initial meeting with Reed and Eskimos GM Eric Tillman, both men told him to “just be a humble guy. The locker room is full of peace, love and joy and that’s something I pride myself on.”
Boyd not only should provide security at tailback, but give Edmonton a potent ground game that has been sporadic, at best.
“Just my being here is going to help this team get better,” Boyd predicted. “I bring in a lot of peace, love and joy into this organization, which they already have.”