September 15, 2017

Hogan: Argos receiving corps add to the family

SJ Green (19) of the Toronto Argonauts and his brother in law Brian Tyms (2) of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after the Labour Day Classic game at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton ON, Monday September 4, 2017. (Photo: Johany Jutras)

It has been said many times that a football team is like a family. For the Toronto Argonauts receiving corps it now literally is.

When the team signed former Ticat Brian Tyms to the practice roster it not only added a receiver who has a chance to be a contributor on the field, but it also added S.J. Green’s brother-in-law.

The Florida duo became family as they married sisters, Christal and Danielle, meaning they’re now teammates both off and on the field. The Greens relationship is longer than the Tyms, so S.J. was established in the family first.

His first impression of Tyms was based on something that shouldn’t surprise anyone who has met the newcomer to Toronto.

“Full of energy and full of life,” said Green. “My first impression was just full of energy, full of life and somebody trying to aspire to be a professional football player one day.”

It’s normal for anyone meeting their girlfriend’s family for the first time to be a little nervous, a bit on the anxious side. It was a family member that made sure the ice was quickly broken.

“Their dad kinda broke the ice,” recalled Tyms. “He said both y’all play the same position, at the time he was in the CFL, I was trying to go to the NFL, the whole time he was like, maybe you should leave the NFL and play with S. in Canada.”

The duos’ father-in-law now has his wish. Both players in Canada and now both on the same team.

The signing was extremely well received by Green, now first in the family and first on the Argos.

“I was ecstatic,” said the elder of the pair. “We tried to get on the same team before, a couple of years ago when I was in Montreal. He had an opportunity to go back to the NFL and it worked out good for him, but we tried this situation before once, but to actually have the opportunity to play with family, this is an opportunity I’m excited about.”

Head coach Marc Trestman admitted he doesn’t know a lot about the newcomer, but his initial impression was a good one.

“He’s certainly got good size and he ran really well in practice,” Trestman said of the 6’3”, 204 pound Tyms. “You can see the way we play S.J., he plays to the boundary, he plays the field, he plays inside. (Tyms) certainly looks like a guy we can move around and do the things we like to do.”

That fits in well with the Argos playbook.

“We’re not really good at being complacent, having guys line up in one place,” admitted Trestman. “We like to move them around, so that will be the case for him as well.”

Tyms won a Super Bowl with the Patriots before heading north last year. With the Ticats, he showed his potential in the Eastern Semi-Final where he caught eight passes for 114 yards.

Is Tyms now pushing for his brother-in-law’s job?

“Oh, ya, I’m at his head!” shouted Tyms, as the pair burst out laughing. “We’re always at each other’s head though, we try to make each other better. If you took a camera and followed us around in the off-season you would have thought we didn’t like each other the way we went at each other, but it just makes you better.”

Green was straightforward when he was asked what the Argos have just acquired.

“A hell of a player,” said a suddenly serious Green. “He just needs an opportunity to showcase his skill set. His vertical threat and his jump ball ability, I think that’s the highlight of his game. I think he can be a spark for our offence.”

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have not made a habit of handing impact players to the Argos. Mike O’Shea, Orlondo Steinauer and Jude St. John are examples of players who turned in their stripes for two shades of blue and it worked out well.

Tyms and the Argos are hoping he can add his name to that list.

Laing Returns

It was a bittersweet July night. The Argos defeated the RedBlacks on a last-second field goal by Lirim Hajrullahu, but something that happened on the last play of the first half took some of the joy away.

Cleyon Laing was injured.

The defensive tackle was arguably playing the best football of his career when he went down. He couldn’t put any weight on his leg when he finally got back up.

The immediate fear was that he would be gone for the season.

“I never had a knee injury before,” Laing told “I was just in shock and just disappointed. I couldn’t even process everything that was going on to be honest with you.”

When the cart comes on the field for an injured player the worst is assumed. The term ‘season ending injury’ is thrown around liberally. That seemed to be the case here as well.

“It’s kind of amazing I’m back,” admitted Laing. “Initially they thought 8-10 weeks, then they said 10-12, so I almost gave up hope on the season.”

A funny thing happened on the way to the three-month timetable, he started getting better way ahead of schedule.

“I felt like I was getting better faster than they were telling me I was supposed to be able to”, said the defensive tackle. “I was actually getting in trouble from the trainers and some of the coaches because I was doing things that I felt comfortable doing and they said I shouldn’t be able to do.”

It was more than a little surprising to not only see Laing at practice this week but if you focused on him you could see something that made little to no sense. He actually looked quicker. He was fine moving north-south but was also cutting and moving laterally with zero signs of the injury. He agreed with the assessment.

“Honestly, I think I feel a little bit quicker too,” he admitted. “I lost a little bit of weight, so I tightened up my body with all of the workouts they had me doing. I feel great.”

Both Laing and Victor Butler, injured in the same game, will return against Edmonton on Saturday. That news couldn’t come at a better time as the Argos prep for the stretch drive.