Antonio Pipkin wonders why he was cut by the Montreal Alouettes the first time around.
“I asked the same question,” Pipkin said. “At first it gets low because it’s a dream you work for to play professional football and then you’re there and then it’s taken away. You’re in the moment where you’re like is my life over basically. From there you just have to dust your shoulders off, get back to work and believe that the opportunity will present itself again,” Pipkin said on TSN 690 radio in Montreal.
Montreal brought Pipkin back less than two months after being let go and started 12 days later in Week 10. The 23-year-old kept the Als competitive in a 40-24 loss to Edmonton and Pipkin bounced back from the defeat to lead Montreal to successive wins against Toronto and Ottawa. But Pipkin threw four interceptions in B.C. as the Alouettes fell to the Lions. Pipkin was 2-2 as the number one quarterback while Johnny Manziel was 0-2 at the time but reinstalled as the starter.
“Disappointment I wouldn’t use that word because like I said before I’m a team guy. The team came in and believed that letting Johnny play would be the best option for us to win going forward. I was continuing to be a good teammate, ready for my next opportunity to play,” Pipkin said.
Pipkin threw for 857 yards, one touchdown against eight interceptions completing 58 per cent of his passes and rushing 36 times for 211 yards and six touchdowns. Manziel passed for 1,290 yards, five touchdowns versus seven interceptions and rushing 29 times for 215 yards ending the season 2-6 as a starter.
“For me I’m always a team-first type of guy, Johnny’s a teammate. I knew Johnny prior to the CFL, so me and Johnny were cool prior to being teammates. For me it’s always whatever you need: if I got it I’ll give it,” Pipkin said.
“It’s all about the team, don’t make it bigger than the team, don’t make yourself bigger than the team and I think when Johnny came along – he was here before I got back. But once we all got into the same environment, it was crucial and pivotal that we all kept that same energy that nobody’s bigger than the team and I think we all did that for the most part.”
Pipkin, who signed a two-year contract extension in October through the 2020 season, understands the extra attention that comes with playing on a team that has Manziel – the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner and celebrity – on the roster.
“If you were in his shoes and you have all the hype and things like that. I think that’s all that really was as far as the media blowing up things to be something that it’s not and create stories that don’t need to be created,” Pipkin said.
“He never acted like he was bigger than the team. A lot of the noise was just from the outside.”