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Argos game a homecoming for Guelph's Tommy Nield

Centennial CVI grad is in his fourth season with the double blue, who lost their exhibition game at Alumni Stadium Thursday night

For Guelph native Tommy Nield, playing for the Toronto Argonauts in their Canadian Football League preseason game at the University of Guelph’s Alumni Stadium was a homecoming of sorts.

“It's awesome playing at home, you know,” the 24-year-old wide receiver said after the Argos suffered a 34-23 loss to the Ottawa Redblacks Thursday night. “I grew up playing on this field, high school and Junior Gryphons, so it's just a sense of comfort being out here – a familiar environment, for sure.”

Nield played a little more than half the game that brought the Argos’ training camp stay in Guelph to an end.

“It was great, honestly,” Nield said of the training camp. “I feel like I got a lot of meaningful reps and learned a lot each and every day from my mistakes and just continuing to grow and get better every day.”

While Nield is entering his third season with the Argos after they selected him in the fourth round, 30th overall, of the 2021 CFL draft, this was his first training camp in Guelph as he missed last year’s camp due to injury.

“That was a goal of mine in training in the off-season, making sure that I make it through training camp healthy,” he said. “And since I didn't the last two years, I’m so proud of myself for that.”

Nield played four seasons of Ontario university football with the McMaster Marauders after being a District 10 high school all-star with the Centennial CVI Spartans. He was a member of Centennial’s 2015 D10 championship team.

His time with McMaster included four wins over the Guelph Gryphons including a victory in the Gryphon Homecoming game in 2016. Nield caught 13 passes against the Gryphons for 254 yards and a touchdown.

“I remember playing here at Homecoming and we came out with the win there in front of all their fans, so that was a good time,” he said. “It's always nice to be playing on this field.”

Last year Nield played in 13 games with the Argos and he caught 10 passes for 191 yards in 2022 and scored his first touchdown in the league on a 37-yard pass from quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson in a game against the B.C. Lions in early October.

“Yeah, that was definitely exciting,” he said. “Just being ready in the moment and it's just hard work paying off so that was an awesome moment for me.

“It was a vertical shot down the middle of the field and I just got over top of the safety and Mack threw it to me in the perfect spot and I just came down with it. It was a great feeling.”

Nield also suited up for the Argos for their Eastern Conference championship win over the Montreal Alouettes and for their Grey Cup win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

“It was an unbelievable feeling,” he said of winning the Grey Cup. “That's something you dream of as a kid growing up, watching Canadian football. And that's just an unforgettable experience.”

Also playing in Thursday’s preseason game was a pair of former Guelph Gryphons, safety Royce Metchie with the Argos and centre Eric Starczala with the Redblacks.

The Argos scored the first touchdown of the game, but Ottawa came back to grab the lead in the first quarter and they didn’t relinquish it the rest of the way.

The Redblacks are to open their regular season June 10 with a game against the Montreal Alouettes in Montreal.

The Argos get the bye in the first week of the regular season and are to host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats June 18 in their season opener.