WR Nield keeping team-first approach as Argos chase history

Former OUA receiver leads the way in division win

Toronto Argonauts number 81 Tommy Nield.
Toronto Argonauts' Tommy Nield (81) hauls in one of his six catches against the Montréal Alouettes in the team's 39-10 win on Sept. 9. (Carter Smith/Toronto Observer) 

The Toronto Argonauts are currently 10-1, have clinched a spot in the 2023 CFL playoffs, and are tied with the 1996 team for best start in franchise history.

Someone who hasn’t been able to revel in the Boatmen’s success is third-year wide receiver Tommy Nield. The McMaster University product suffered a concussion in the season opener and was placed on the six-game list as a result.

Toronto’s mantra all season has been to take things day by day and that winning every day is how you go 1-0 every week. That is the same mentality the 24-year-old used to approach his injury stint and journey back to the field.

“You try not to think too far forward,” said Nield in an interview with the Toronto Observer. “Taking it one day at a time is definitely the way I found was best to go about it.”

“I won’t get too caught up thinking about stuff I can’t control.”

The 30th overall pick by the Argos in 2021 points out that things like injuries are definitely out of his control – especially injuries suffered by his teammates.

Which is exactly what happened last Saturday when starting receivers Kurleigh Gittens Jr. and Cam Phillips left in the second half of the team’s 39-10 victory over the Montréal Alouettes.

Feeling some nerves

Despite feeling some nerves, even three years in, Nield knew that he’d be ready for the moment by staying true to the approach that got him to this point.

“Whatever the team needs me to do,” Nield said. “Whenever I get my opportunity, I have to take advantage of it, and whenever the ball comes my way, I go and make the play.”

After pulling in six receptions (four in the second half) for 84 yards, it’s safe to say that Nield made the most of his time out there.

If you ask his teammates – who jokingly joined in on the post-game scrum to interview the third-year receiver – if any of them were surprised by the performance, they’d say not at all.

“We know Tommy can ball,” said Gittens Jr. “He had an unfortunate injury early on that kept him out…but everyone on the receiving core knows he’s a baller.”

“We expect that out of him. If the ball’s going to come his way, he’s going to go get it.”

Nield credits much of his success returning from the head injury to his fellow wideouts who helped him every step of the way.

“It’s special for sure,” said the 2019 Yates Cup champion while describing his relationship within the receiver room. “I’m learning from them even if I’m not out there getting the reps. Seeing other guys go through the motions and picturing myself in those positions.”

“When it was my turn to go, I felt that much more ready.”

With his family watching from the stands of BMO field, number 81 on the Argos wasn’t just ready, he excelled. Nield came into the day without a catch all season but ended the contest as the game’s leader in receptions and receiving yards.

Toronto picked up a win and clinched a playoff spot, but now the question is whether or not the receiver and the Argos can do it all over again.

A victory tonight against the Alouettes in Montréal would check off a lot of boxes for the Boatmen. They would complete a season sweep of their division rival, clinch the top spot in the East, bring their record to 11-1, and set a new reocrd for the best start in franchise history.

Winning the game may not be a guarantee of repeating as Grey Cup champions for Toronto, but what there is certainty in contention. And when Nield’s name is called he’ll be ready.

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Posted: Sep 14 2023 10:25 pm
Filed under: CFL Football Local Sports Sports