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Nick Moore is the ultimate team player. So when Loucheiz Purifoy insisted the receiver score a touchdown for him in Saskatchewan on July 16th of last season, the receiver felt he had to comply and for good reason.
“Louch’s Mom had fallen ill before the game and they weren’t sure she was going to make it, “recalls Moore. “He was wrestling with the decision of whether or not to play and when he decided he would he told me ‘you’ve got to get into the end zone for my mom.’ I told him I absolutely had his back.”
Moore did his part with his first, and ultimately only, major of 2016. The toss from Jonathon Jennings sparked a big 4th quarter en route to a 40-27 victory. But the end result would be crippling for Moore.
“I score the touchdown, we celebrate in the end zone and I am just dead tired and want to sit on the bench. Louch then told me to do a chest bump so of course I was going to do that for his Mom. Next thing you know, boom. There goes my knee.”
If Purifoy’s emotions weren’t already running high, you can only imagine what he was thinking when the celebration took a wild and devastating turn. Especially after Moore was so good to him when battling it out every day in practice.
“Being a rookie in the CFL, I learned so much from working against him every day,” said Purifoy. “It made my heart smile to know he had my back that night.
“If I had never jumped in the air, he would have never got hurt yet he kept telling me it wasn’t my fault and it was just a freak accident.”
Purifoy’s Mom Rena’ wound up making a recovery and perhaps the will and determination of her son’s effort on the field that night found its way down to Florida where she was in need of help.
But despite finishing the game, Moore’s reunion season with the BC Lions was over as it was just getting rolling. The torn ACL caused him to miss the final 15 games plus playoffs and took him into somewhat of an uncertainty heading into the offseason.
After getting a solid report on his rehab as free agency opened, the club elected to re-sign him for 2017. Now that he is healed and his status is no longer up in the air, all he can do is laugh at his untimely end to 2016
“I have no choice but to joke about it. How many times does that happen to people who play sports? It’s just bad luck. Wrong place. Wrong time.”
One of the best things for Moore during his rehab was having Alouettes’ receiver SJ Green alongside him in his offseason home of Tampa, Florida. Green suffered a torn ACL, MCL and PCL one week prior to Moore’s setback. The two playmakers should be better off from the rehab arrangement.
“We did our entire rehab together and also trained a couple times of week. It’s been great”, explained Moore.
“SJ’s body of work speaks for itself. He’s a humble guy, extremely hardworking and he knows a lot. Just having somebody like him next to me throughout the entire rehab process and even after has been great.
It (rehab) can play mind games on you. One day you feel you will be back to 100 percent tomorrow and then the next day you feel like you will never be healthy again. It definitely did that with me but I just stuck with the task and thankfully it’s back to 100 percent.”
Now that the rigorous routine is over, Moore is quick to point out the fact he would be ready to strap on the pads tomorrow if needed.
“I was 100 percent two weeks ago. I’m actually feeling better than I was before the injury.”
Before the injury, Moore hauled in 15 catches for 105 yards and the one fateful touchdown reception. His setback ultimately allowed Bryan Burnham to break out and have a career year. Now those two will help form one of the more dynamic receiving corps.in the league.
“Other guys I work out with from around the CFL talk about all the firepower we have,” explains Moore.
“It’s a ‘pick your poison’ kind of situation with Jon at QB, Jeremiah at running back and all of us at receiver.
I haven’t been more excited for a season ever, not only because I am coming off an injury but I haven’t been home this long since high school. I am getting antsy to head back to Canada and get to work.”
And trust us when we tell you he isn’t worried about the trip to Saskatchewan August 13th where the always- vocal green fans will not let him forget what happened last visit.
“Any good fan base should heckle me a little bit and I will take that and run with it”, said Moore.
“That’s one of the greatest things about playing in Saskatchewan is their fans and how into it they are. To able to go in there and silence them a little bit, that’s what you play this game for.”
Nick Moore in a nutshell: Calm, cool and collected, yet focused on the task at hand.
Matt Baker: email@example.com