It’s bold, it’s gaudy and it’s flashy – everything Linden Gaydosh is not.
And that’s why the Toronto Argonauts burly defensive tackle plans to give his 2017 Grey Cup ring to his father, Dave, who played junior football for the Calgary Colts. Gaydosh and his teammates received their stunning championship hardware Friday for their 27-24 upset win over the Calgary Stampeders last November in Ottawa.
“Oh, it’s gorgeous,” Gaydosh said Wednesday following Toronto’s training camp session at York University. “Pictures don’t go it justice, you really have to see it.
“But it’s a little too flashy for my style. I’m a country boy, I don’t have jewellery on me. I think it’s something my dad values more than I do. He’s wanted this for 38 years . . . I’m going to get home and give it to him.”
Toronto’s Grey Cup rings are indeed spectacular. On the inside of each, the final score, date and team slogan, “Today Is The Day” are featured.
A huge Argos logo appears on the front surrounded by 17 blue gems for each of the franchise’s Grey Cup titles. On one side are the words, “Grey Cup Champions” above the Toronto skyline with the Grey Cup. Snowflakes also appear, fitting as snow fell during the championship contest.
BMO Field is pictured on the other with the players’ name and number and the word “Together” written underneath.
That victory helped remove the sting from Gaydosh’s first Grey Cup appearance in 2014 with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Calgary held on to win 20-16 after Brandon Banks’ punt return TD with 32 seconds remaining was nullified by a penalty.
The championship victory was a nice end to a roller-coaster 2017 season for the six-foot-four, 298-pound Gaydosh. The native of Peace River, Alta., joined the Argos as a free agent last August after being released by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Gaydosh, 27, started two of 11 games with Toronto, registering nine tackles, three sacks and one pass knockdown. He saw action in the Argos’ 25-21 East final win over Saskatchewan and had a tackle in the Grey Cup game.
Gaydosh begins the ’18 season with the benefit of training camp under new defensive co-ordinator Mike Archer, who served as Toronto’s linebacker coach last year under departed co-ordinator Corey Chamblin.
“We’re still the same core guys,” Gaydosh said. “The defence is very similar to what we had last year and we’re going to do our best to be on top again.”
Toronto’s first exhibition game is June 1 in Hamilton and Gaydosh is already looking forward to it.
“I can’t wait for a game already,” he said. “I want to be playing against someone else other than a teammate at this point.”
Toronto head coach Marc Trestman said Gaydosh is off to a great start in camp.
“He’s come in ready to go,” Trestman said. “He looks really good in the first couple of days.
“He was a great contributor to our football team as a teammate and player on the field. He filled in when Jeff Finlay got hurt and just did an outstanding job.”
But Gaydosh has plenty to work on in camp.
“I feel I have a lot of strength that I can provide in the middle,” he said. “I’m more of a run stopper than a pass rusher but I’m trying to work on that every day to make myself more versatile and valuable to the team.
“I have to get up on that sack chart with the rest of these guys. I had three last year but not enough to keep myself on the same level.”
Gaydosh doesn’t have to look far for guidance as teammate Shawn Lemon is regarded as one of the CFL’s best pass rushers. Still, the former Calgary Dino has a good idea regarding where he needs improvement.
“I’ve got to make my hand speed better, I’ve got to work on my hand placement,” he said. “I could sit here all day and list the things I’m not good at.
“I take feedback from everybody. I try to keep an open mind about it.”
Gaydosh has faced much adversity since being drafted first overall by Hamilton in 2013. A back injury forced him to miss the ’13 season with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers before a torn Achilles tendon kept Gaydosh out the entire ’15 campaign with the Ticats.
“I feel good, I’m ready to go,” he said. “I think it’s time to put all that stuff behind me and move on, get ready to go and stop thinking about it.”