Toronto Argonauts: D.J. Foster shines in CFL debut with new opportunity

D.J. Foster #37 of the Toronto Argonauts. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
D.J. Foster #37 of the Toronto Argonauts. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

D.J. Foster was unsure if he would ever play another game of football. Thankfully, the Toronto Argonauts called, and he made the most of the opportunity.

Just a few months ago, D.J. Foster thought he was done with football. Fast forward through weeks of uncertainty, and the Arizona State alum rushed for 101 yards as the Toronto Argonauts defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 30-23.

The game was many things to many people – a return to BMO Field for the Argos faithful, a home debut for coach Ryan Dinwiddie and his team, and a rematch of a game last week that many Argos felt was not their best. But for Foster, it was a chance to continue to play the game he loves.

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It was a chance he didn’t necessarily think was coming.

“I was sitting there on my butt, wondering what am I going to do next.” He said post-game, when asked about that period earlier this year. “I thought I was done with football.”

Foster had played parts of five seasons in the NFL, for the New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals. He was part of some good teams, but saw little of the field. He had 13 rushing attempts his entire NFL career. He had 10 carries last night.

When the Argos called, Foster jumped at the chance to continue playing the game professionally. He relished the opportunity, even if it was with a game that was a little different. As he joked post-game, he’s still learning some of the Canadian games’ intricacies.

“Still getting used to all the receivers moving.” He said, laughing. “On the sidelines I’m asking the guys a lot – hey, what’s going on here? What’s happening now?”

But some of the changes, particularly the larger field, have already been noticed.

“You got three downs to go to work, so it’s faster paced. A lot more room, which is nice.”

Foster clearly enjoyed the extra space. Despite having a similar workload to fellow running back John White, he found much more success, finding the end zone and rushing for 10.1 yards a carry. That, matched with Nick Arbuckle’s stellar 23/32 debut in which he threw for 310 yards, meant the Argos put points on the board fast, and kept their lead throughout.

The game was a good team win for Toronto, who survived the ebb and flow of a Winnipeg side who made sure to capitalize on any mistakes. One such mistake came in the first half, when a Nick Arbuckle fumble was returned for a touchdown. But the Argos finished the half off with a touchdown, effectively grabbing the momentum back before the break.

“Whenever you come off the field after a fumble, it’s tough.” Arbuckle admitted. “But veterans of this league understand it’s about surviving.”

The touchdown play was from practice, something that Davaris Daniels and Arbuckle felt they needed to sharpen up before the game.

“I missed [Daniels in practice] with the throw because our timing was off.” Arbuckle wrote in a tweet after the game. “We stayed after practice on Thursday and repped it multiple times till we got it right.”

The result was a crucial touchdown that ended any progression Winnipeg had been making.

For coach Dinwiddie, the game was a good win, and a sign of things to come. “I’m happy we got to show these fans the new Argos.” He said. “Hope more come out next week, and we keep it going.”

light. Related Story. Argonauts offence comes alive in win over Blue Bombers

Up next, after a short week, is the Edmonton Elks. The game is Thursday night at BMO Field, and will mark the first time James Wilder Jr. returns to BMO, after three seasons and a Grey Cup win with the Boatmen.