If anything at all, the Alouettes’ slow start has proven: To err is human, to fumble three times in a game, Devine.
As a result, the Alouettes have given rookie Tyron “Aircraft” Carrier the order to take off for the first time since Week 1 when he scored a long punt-return touchdown on his very first CFL regular season touch.
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Getting back on the launch pad has been a test of patience for Carrier, but he’s well-armed for when life throws choppy waves or obstacles on the runway.
He’s overcome attacks of severe asthma, not to mention an upbringing rife with moments that would leave others gasping.
“The struggles...I feel like my struggles are not so rare,” says the native of the rough Houston neighbourhoods of Southpark and Sunnyside.
“That’s rough, real rough,” admits the speedster, officially listed at 5-foot-8, an obvious embellishment.
“My brother got in trouble going to the store and stealing us something to eat. In my neighbourhood, I feel like that’s common. I don’t even consider that a struggle.”
If you’re hungry, is it crime or common sense to take what you need?
“I never did it, my brother did. When he got caught, he got in some trouble nobody could understand, but I did. I tell him that to this day ‘Man, you did a lot for me.’”
He’d been arrested and sent to a boy’s home for several months.
“That was tough on me too.”
“We were the athletes and everybody knew that from elementary, so we were real close with them but they never tried to put us in that situation.
“I have lots of friends that were in that circle.”
“To this day I go home and see them and speak with them but they would never put me in a bad situation. They respect me. They’re actually happy that I’m one of the ones who have made it.”
His older brother Donald North was also sly at keeping secrets. Because of Tyron’s breathing condition, their mother didn’t want them playing contact sports.
“He filled out the forms for me. From age 7 to Grade 11 she didn’t know I was playing football until one day I made the front page of the paper and everyone was calling her.”
Carrier’s secret exposed, pumps and medications having managed the worst of his breathing problems, Sharon North could breathe easier too.
He spied her at a game and vowed he wouldn’t get hit. Carrier had the speed and shiftiness at kick-return and receiver to make sure that didn’t happen often.
His mother made it to every one of Tyron’s college home games at the University of Houston.
Injury trouble deprived Carrier the opportunity to shine for NFL scouts. He ripped up his knee in his final Bowl Game. An agent convinced him he needed to prove he could play again, so Carrier moved to the North Texas town of Wichita Falls for a team called The Nighthawks.
Somehow, Carrier showed up on the radar for Jim Popp, so he jetted north to the Alouettes practice roster in the fall of 2012.
Because he didn’t re-sign, Carrier was free to return to the Nighthawks where he played from January to the days leading right up to Als’ Training Camp.
Despite hitting Mach 1 in Game 1 of regular season, he dinged his shoulder and sat out a week. Noel Devine, a close friend, racked up impressive combined yardage totals forcing Carrier to stay grounded for four more weeks.
“I hate that this opportunity comes like this,” confesses Carrier, of Devine’s three-fumble fiasco versus the Argos last week.
With a lifetime of handling adversity behind him, Carrier’s opening week touchdown caught him an unexpected lesson in dealing with success.
“I think Winnipeg was trying to kick it to the boundary side, but it came to the middle of the field and we had a middle return on,” Carrier says happy to flash back to the sunniest moment he’s had in Canada.
“I remember catching it and seeing a couple of my guys to the inside, but they didn’t have their block yet. I took a step over to the right and as soon as I saw everybody set up their blocks. There was one guy free and he thought I was going outside so I cut up right inside him.”
As he neared the goal line, Carrier extended his arms out by his side, like fighter-jet wings landing back down on the carrier top.
“I have this little thing, I throw my arms out like I’m flying, I try to take flight.”
“The coaches got mad and told me to protect the ball,” Carrier confesses of his new marching orders from Special Teams coordinator Ray Rychleski.
“Coach Ray laughed when I told him nobody catches me from behind, but I’ll be more cautious with it next time.”
Carrier says it with full confidence that there will be a next time.
“I can guarantee I’m going to try my hardest. I’m going to try to minimize mistakes and make things happen.”
Rick Moffat is the Voice of the Montreal Alouettes on CJAD 800. He works alongside former CFL Dave Mudge. Moffat's first attended Grey Cup was as a fan in '77 - the infamous Tony Proudfoot "Staple Game". Rick is proud to say he had his first beer at an Als' game during the Marv Levy Era. Follow Rick on Twitter @RickMoffat.