Toronto Argonauts: Matt Black ready to transition into new role

Matt Black #39 of the Toronto Argonauts blocks a pass attempt to Brandon London #14 of the Montreal Alouettes. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
Matt Black #39 of the Toronto Argonauts blocks a pass attempt to Brandon London #14 of the Montreal Alouettes. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images) /

After 10 seasons in the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts, Matt Black announced his retirement from football to join the Argos’ front office.

If there is a season that could easily define Matt Black’s career with the Toronto Argonauts, it has to be 2017.

The team released the Toronto native in August but brought him back when injuries started to pile up and the impact he made after that is tough to forget. Many will remember the interception he made on the final play in the Grey Cup against Calgary which helped seal an improbable win for Toronto.

That wasn’t the only play that showed the impact Black brought in his return. In the regular season against the Edmonton Eskimos on September, he made a couple of crucial tackles including a sack on third down to stop a comeback from the Eskimos giving the Argos some much-needed momentum heading into the playoffs.

It was an emotional time for Black especially after the game when asked about being able to make a big play not long after getting released. He wasn’t petty or unhappy because he knew opportunities come to those who work hard for them.

"“I never doubted myself and credit to my family and friends who stuck by me through that whole situation,” Black said after that game. “It was definitely a good moment for me since I was able to help this team win like I wanted to do from day one.”"

Former Argos head coach Marc Trestman made it a point to give Black credit for how he handled the situation at the time and coming up when the team needed him to.

"“I couldn’t be prouder of Matt from start to finish. The day we let him go he handled it with class and dignity,” Trestman said of Black. “He bought the guys breakfast the morning he got cut and he’s come back here and lead the way with specials and other facets of our football team.”"

This is the type of player management, teammates and fans have come to know and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the team wanted him to work in the front office as a Player Relation Advisor/Football OperatioAssistant.

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In 2016, Black was awarded the CFL’s Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Award, in recognition for a Canadian CFL player who best demonstrates the attributes of Canada’s veterans through strength, perseverance, courage, comradeship and contribution to Canadian communities.

Black has been a big supporter of the Argos’ community initiatives including the Huddle Up Bullying Prevention program.

On top of that, as the Argonauts noted in their press release, he was also an ambassador for the MLSE Launchpad, Canadian Tire JumpStart, Make the Call: Ending violence against women, Level the Playing Field program, Goodlife Argo-cise program, Salvation Army Thanksgiving dinners, book launch programs at schools and past spokesperson for Canadian Blood Services.

This is something Black took pride in being a hometown player and will continue to be involved as he transitions into his front office role.

"“It was something I’m really passionate about and I’m really excited to work some projects because it will allow me to continue to do the work I was doing in the community,” Black told Tip of the Tower. “That’s something that has been really important for me during my time here in Toronto and that’s one of the biggest reasons why I couldn’t pass the position up.”"

Black is also excited about what this season will bring for the Argos with a familiar face in Corey Chamblin returning and the additions through free agency.  He is also hoping to help with the gameday experience as the team continues to look for ways to bring in more fans to BMO Field.

When it comes to his legacy as a player, Black is hoping he left a good enough impression with his teammates through his work ethic both on and off the field.

"“I just wanted to be remembered as a guy who works hard and that earned the trust and respect from his teammate,” said the 34-year-old. “That’s how I approached every day.”"

Considering the number of players who made it a point to reach out on social media to give their praise for their former teammate, Black certainly left his mark as a player and there is no doubt he will be able to do the same in the next chapter of his career.

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