EDMONTON — The Edmonton Eskimos have released running back Cory Boyd and defensive back Ronnie Prude, the team announced on Thursday.
“Today’s move is in no way a reflection of the caliber of play of these young men,” said Eskimo Head Coach Kavis Reed. “This is a consequence of the exceptionally high level of injuries we have sustained – double that of typical years – and this issue has a direct impact on our salary cap management.”
“I thank Cory and Ronnie for their professionalism and contributions to the team this season.”
Boyd signed with the Eskimos the day after his release from the Toronto Argonauts in August. He played four games for the green and gold and has 18 carries for 76 yards and four catches for 40 yards. During his time in Toronto, Boyd was the league’s leading rusher with 80 carries for 447 yards and two touchdowns. He also hauled in 23 passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns.
A week after signing Boyd to provide insurance behind Hugh Charles, the Eskimos got fullback Jerome Messam back after his failed attempt to win a job with Miami in the NFL. Reed tried to find ways to work all three of them into the game plan without success.
“It’s just one of those things that didn’t work out,” said Charles, who has never relinquished his role as the team’s premier running back. “We tried the three-headed monster, one of those experiments that’s come and gone.”
Reed said the performance of Charles and Boyd’s import status contributed to Thursday’s decision. Despite having his touches reduced for several games, Charles is fifth in CFL rushing with 700 yards on 146 carries. Last week Reed declared Charles the team’s No. 1 running back for the rest of the season.
“Hugh Charles has done a phenomenal job as a running back and as a receiver out of the backfield,” Reed said. “We tried to accommodate all of them, but it was very hard to get them all into the backfield. Cory was the third man out.”
With Charles solidified as the No. 1 back and Messam having non-import status, the import Boyd was the logical casualty.
Charles, who sat beside Boyd in the locker-room, said Boyd “kept his spirits high and knew where he stood.”
“It’s sad to see him go but he’s taking it well and hopefully he’ll find a team to shine with again,” Charles said. “I’m sure a lot of guys’ spirits are down, we were all close to him.”
Prude spent the first three weeks on the one-game injured list. In five games, he has 12 defensive tackles, one special teams tackle, one pass-knockdown and one interception. When the Eskimos hosted the Saskatchewan Roughriders on August 10, he left the game early with an injury and missed games 7-9 and 12-13. He was on the reserve list for game 14.
– With files from the Canadian Press