Dyakowski embraces next step in his football career
[i]In 2012, Dyakowski was crowned the champion of the CBC game show Canada’s Smartest Person. In 2014, the CFL veteran finished third during an appearance on Jeopardy. He has a Mensa-level IQ and is among the league’s most thoughtful and articulate interviewees.
But there is another aspect to Dyakowski’s personality.
“He’s an SOB on the field,’’ Roughriders offensive tackle Derek Dennis said during a break in the Riders’ training camp at the University of Saskatchewan. “If you watch him play, he’s nasty.
“It’s weird because he’ll come up to you and say, “How you doing? Nice to meet you and are things OK?’ It’s amazing because guys like that are football players. Off the field he’s kind-hearted, nice and he’s easy to talk to. When he gets between the lines and puts on those shoulder pads, he’s a dog.’’
There are still times when Dyakowski — who was acquired Saturday from the Toronto Argonauts for receiver Armanti Edwards — is reminded by teammates about being Canada’s smartest person.
“I hear about it the most if I ever jump offside, which is few and far between,? said the 6-foot-5, 320-pound Dyakowski. “That’s always the first thing the guys pull out.
“In football there are always different kinds of intelligence. I’ve played with a lot of guys who are legitimate geniuses and being clever only helps you so far because you can make decisions and be quick. A lot of guys overthink things and that can hurt you. It can only help you if you’re quick and decisive.’’
Dyakowski’s Riders debut was delayed until Tuesday while he made arrangements to move after spending his entire 10-year CFL playing career with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
He was released by Hamilton after the CFL’s free-agent deadline and within hours signed with the Argonauts. He was prepared to leave for Toronto’s training camp when he was informed that he had been traded.
“The first indication I got was a phone call saying, ‘Hold off on packing for your medical,’ ’’ said Dyakowski, who plans to move to Regina with his wife Rachel and their 10-month-old daughter Louise. “Something in the back of my head told me something might be going on. I then used the opportunity to go to a family barbecue with my wife’s family and I had to interrupt dinner to get traded.’’
Dyakowski joins a team with which he became familiar as a youngster in Vancouver.
“I grew up going to B.C. Lions games and the team with the biggest presence as a road team was the Riders,’’ Dyakowski said. “They were the ones with the most vocal supporters and I always knew who those green guys were.’’
Where Dyakowski will fit in with the Riders remains to be seen. He has taken repetitions at both guard spots while working with the first and second units.
“I’m surprisingly versatile so you will be shocked,’’ Dyakowski said. “My first couple of years in Hamilton I had starts at both tackle and guard spots. It has been for the last eight years that I’ve been at left guard. I can adjust and do what is asked of me and find a role.’’
Dyakowski will be happy with whatever role he’s asked to fill.
“When you go to training camp, you go with the mindset that you will be a starter because it’s a self-defeating attitude otherwise,’’ he said. “So I will put my best product out there and welcome the coaches’ decision. If the role for me is as a backup, then that’s fantastic because it’s a chance to play on a team and contribute.’’
Dyakowski then showed his dry sense of humour when asked what intangibles he can bring to the Riders.
“Incredible powers of understatement and modesty,’’ Dyakowski said with a smile.
“I have a lot of experience and I’ve done it a few times where hopefully I’m not too nervous. I can be loose and be confident out there. It’s a new offence, but there are so many ways to play football and there are a lot of things by different names. I have a great group of guys that I have to mesh with and find out where I can help out.’’[/i]