Tyrell Sutton of the Alouettes is no spring chicken. At 31 years of age, he’s one of the elder statesmen at the position in the CFL. That said, in only 14 games this past season, Sutton finished sixth in the league in rushing yards. He scored five touchdowns – no small feat on a team that lived on field goals. He averaged 5.5 yards a carry, an excellent average when you consider how much of a beating the Alouettes QBs took in 2017 behind that offensive line. So when general manager Kavis Reed announced this week that Sutton would be back for the 2018 season, and potentially beyond, some of the fans wondered why. Why would he subject himself to that kind of abuse, particularly when Montreal isn’t expected to be a contender in 2018.
In speaking with the Montreal Gazette’s Herb Zurkowsky this week, Sutton explained that he always wanted to play for one team, and that Montreal was his team and home.
When I read those words I was a little surprised. Not because it came from Sutton, but because the Als owed him nothing. After all, this wasn’t the same management team that went out and signed him back in 2013. Sutton could have explored his options, electing to find a more competitive team with a more stable offensive line. But he didn’t. And the Montreal community should embrace that.
Sutton has been a fascinating player in Montreal. He has scratched and clawed his way into the starting role in the backfield. He has outlasted players like Brandon Whitaker and fended off the likes of Brandon Rutley – all while battling annual injuries, as he has missed numerous games throughout his career.
This offseason for the Als was supposed to be one where they got younger. As the oldest team in the league, the thought was that certain players simply wouldn’t be back. But it’s nice to see that Reed isn’t changing things just for the sake of change. Rather, he’s rewarding Sutton for his loyalty, performance and leadership.
Just under a year ago, I MC’d and played in a charity basketball game in Montreal alongside Sutton and some of his teammates. While my shooting guard game wasn’t on that night, Sutton stole the show. Despite being the shortest guy on the floor, Sutton weaved and accelerated past other decent athletes. He dominated. In short, he’s not just a football player, he’s an athlete. Other than him grabbing my head and rubbing it into his sweat-soaked shirt, it was a great night. Als fans are hoping he’ll rack up a few great nights in 2018.
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