“I take it as a good sign,” said the voice of the smallest man ever to play in the CFL regarding the news that the biggest play in CFL history has bumped him down a peg in the record book.
Ezra Landry is thrilled for Trent Guy, and was happy to congratulate him while revealing “things are good in my life now.”
Records are made to be broken, but the CFL’s longest missed-field-goal return for a TD may be the exception that proves the rule.
On the heels of Guy’s recent success on the field, there’s enough evidence to support the notion that dark times might be a thing of the past for both he and Landry.
Guy would have had to be in the lobby of the Montreal Neurological Institute – which is practically connected to Percival Molson Stadium – to be any further from the Argo endzone when the two teams met last weekend.
“I was always taught ‘get up field’, but I learned in Canada you have to ‘give it grain’,” explained Landry. “Coaches Don Matthews and Noel Thorpe had me study film and I learned to let the blocks give grain. I had to change my running style and I’m sure Trent feels it’s different.”
“We were definitely taking it out,” Guy said after the game. “We’re going to continue to put emphasis on special teams. I need to get north and south. That’s what I’m here for.”
One thing he won’t do is make a beeline for the barbershop, despite being tackled three times by Argos getting their hands on nothing but dreadlocked braids.
“Cut them off? No way,” Landry advises from New Orleans, where he’s involved with a new barbershop, appropriately named “Fast Cuts”.
Hurricane Katrina destroyed his first shop “Izzy’s”, not to mention his home and those of his parents and grandmother.
“I trimmed my braids (after hair-tackles) and I wish I hadn’t,” reveals Ezra.
“They become a part of you.”
“Some of the guys are saying ‘are you going to cut it or trim it?’” Guy says shrugging off offers from special teams specialist and in house hair stylist Dahrran Diedrick. “I’m used to getting tackled by my hair.”
He’s been a kick returner since high school days, so the five-foot-eight speedster slowed by injuries this season made some halftime adjustments.
“I didn’t have it pinned back in the first half... I pinned it back in the second half,” Guy says of his braids.
“It’s a part of the jersey so I guess those guys will grab on to whatever they can to get me down. I put a rubber band on my hair to compact it so it wouldn’t be flying all over the place and give less of a surface to grab.”
In Montreal, kick returners have been a hair today, gone tomorrow world. Since Landry returned home to Louisiana, the Als have gone through returners like glasses of water.
Guy may not know it, but Landry’s connections of recent Alouettes’ past and present made him a focal point for special teams success last Sunday.
Ezra is the one who encouraged Kyries Hebert to call Jim Popp about returning to the CFL after his NFL opportunity ran its course.
He’s also friends with former Alouette Harold Nash, the inheritor of the Patriots’ strength coach job from Tom Shaw, the New Orleans training legend.
Despite being named Special Teams Player of the Week, Guy is still spinning his wheels in circles to solve the punt return mysteries of the expansive Canadian field.
“With the bigger field you think you have more room to run around, but you have 12 men on the field and those guys do a great job of covering,” he admits after being held to just five yards on four punt returns in that same record-setting game.
“You have to get used to catching the ball, using the five-yard rule, and get up north.”
So what if geographically that means West-East at Molson Stadium?
An inch from being out of bounds at the back of an endzone. An inch from being seriously injured in a shooting incident four years ago while still at the University of Louisville. Small measures, big differences.
“It’s a blessing, I’ve said it over and over again,” he says of his recovery from a bullet in the back. “It’s a blessing to me not only to be alive but to play football...It’s a great feeling.”
Guy admits he’s up for the duel in Steeltown Friday night against Chris Williams.
“We definitely felt we were making a progression; every single person in the room has been held accountable for our special teams,” Guy says of Coach Andy Bischoff’s attention to detail.
“We all know that guy’s a great competitor,” Guy says of Williams. “He’s electric. Playing against him we’re on the edge of our seat watching him and trying to figure out ways to stop him. Chris is a great returner, so we got him on the radar.
Another dreaded Alouette, Dwight Anderson, suggests Guy will prove to be as well.
“That was just a little preview for the outside world I guess to see something we already knew he could do.”
And the hair?
”I told him make sure he put it in a pony tail; mine stays tucked. That’s just part of the uniform. Unless you got it tucked, don’t cry and complain about it.”