Of­fen­sive line­man Dyakowski re­leased

Key mem­ber of team and com­mu­nity for 10 years signs with the Ar­gos: ‘Peo­ple were great to me, the city was great to me’

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - DREW ED­WARDS

His 10-year ca­reer with the Ti­cats made him the team’s long­est-serv­ing mem­ber

The phone rings once, twice, three times ... “Peter Dyakowski, Toronto Arg­onauts.” Even on what must have been a dif­fi­cult day, Peter Dyakowski’s sense of hu­mour — quirky as it is — re­mained in­tact.

Un­til his re­lease on Thurs­day, Dyakowski had been the Hamil­ton Tiger-Cats’ longest­serv­ing mem­ber, hav­ing spent his en­tire 10-year ca­reer with the Ti­cats af­ter be­ing se­lected by the club in the se­cond round of the 2006 CFL draft.

He is not just a rec­og­niz­able face in this com­mu­nity but its am­bas­sador across the coun­try. He was crowned Canada’s Smartest Per­son af­ter a 2012 con­test on CBC tele­vi­sion and ap­peared as a con­tes­tant on “Jeop­ardy!” in 2014. For a league in des­per­ate need of well-spo­ken, lik­able per­son­al­ties, Dyakowski man­aged it from the gen­er­ally anony­mous left guard spot.

But his ten­ure in Hamil­ton came to an end in a rather sud­den and ig­no­min­ious man­ner, re­leased via a seven-line news re­lease that fea­tured two sen­tences from vice-pres­i­dent of foot­ball op­er­a­tions Kent Austin. It was a tough end­ing and Dyakowski — like many Ti­cats be­fore him — likely de­served bet­ter in some al­ter­nate uni­verse where foot­ball isn’t a harsh and unfair busi­ness.

“I don’t re­ally want to get into the nitty-gritty. A lot of guys leave a team and they get hung up on how they left it. I look back and I’ve got phe­nom­e­nal mem­o­ries,” Dyakowski said be­fore fir­ing a shot in Austin’s gen­eral di­rec­tion. “The team is big­ger than a cou­ple of peo­ple who make de­ci­sions at any one time.”

Sen­ti­ment aside, from a foot­ball and salary cap per­spec­tive, this move makes sense for the Ti­cats.

Dyakowski will be 33 in April and while he en­joyed a re­mark­able re­nais­sance two sea­sons ago af­ter com­ing all the way back from a torn patella suf­fered in the 2013 Grey Cup game, his mo­bil­ity and flex­i­bil­ity have clearly be­gun to wane. He still has plenty of vet­eran savvy — though he’s al­ways been prone to the oc­ca­sional men­tal lapse — but the phys­i­cal skills are start­ing to di­min­ish.

All this doesn’t mean he can’t help the Toronto Arg­onauts, who signed him to a two-year con­tract in ex­cess of $100,000 per sea­son.

Dyakowski ac­knowl­edged it will be a lit­tle strange pulling on the Dou­ble Blue, but he seemed ex­cited at the prospect of con­tin­u­ing his CFL ca­reer while not hav­ing to up­root his young fam­ily — he and wife Rachel had their first child last sum­mer — from their home in Hamil­ton.

“I’m jump­ing head­first in with the Ar­gos. I’m all in,” he said. “I’m turn­ing onto a new page of my ca­reer and I’m look­ing for­ward to mak­ing new mem­o­ries.”

And his Hamil­ton love is heart­felt. “I was for­tu­nate to have the time I had in Hamil­ton. I had a ter­rific run and the sup­port of phe­nom­e­nal fans. Peo­ple were great to me, the city was great to me,” he said. “I value the 10 years.”

SCOTT GARDNER, HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

Peter Dyakowski won’t be putting on this jersey again as a mem­ber of the Tiger-Cats. He was re­leased by the team af­ter 10 years of ser­vice Thurs­day.

PETER POWER, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Peter Dyakowski stands guard for quar­ter­back Zach Col­laros dur­ing a game against Win­nipeg on Aug. 9, 2015.

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