Robert Drummond - Running Back - 1998-01 - Syracuse
Robert Drummond on a football field was the picture of a thoroughbred. He was not a diminutive dynamo like Barry Sanders or a punishing power back like Mike Pringle, Robert Drummond was explosive and graceful all at the same time. He had the ability to outrun a defender or power over a defender but everything he did on a football field had a certain fluidity that is rare among running backs in professional football.
Drummond, the older brother of American Olympic sprinter Jon Durmmond, grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and went on to be a collegiate football star with the Syracuse Orangemen. Drummond parlayed his collegiate success as a 3rd round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles 76th overall in 1989. Drummond made the team as a rookie and saw action picking up a rushing touchdown as one of his 32 carries his rookie year. He would be with Philadelphia until the end of the 1991 season at which point he was released.
Drummond was a training camp cut of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1992. He suffered the same fate in 1993 with the Denver Broncos.
Drummond joined the expansion Baltimore CFL Colts in 1994 – teaming with Mike Pringle to form one of the greatest backfields in CFL history. Drummond made a statement in 1994 in the Eastern Semi-Final versus his future employers the Argonauts. With Mike Pringle injured Drummond filled in and rushed for 111 yards on 22 carries for two touchdowns. The team had unheard of success under Don Matthews, advancing to the Grey Cup in their first season 1994 and capturing the Grey Cup in 1995 the team’s final year of existence. Drummond played second fiddle as a reserve
and blocking back for the incredible exploits of Mike Pringle. It was clear to coach Matthews that Robert Drummond had the ability to be a big-time CFL star.
With the remnants of the Baltimore franchise moving to Montreal, Don Matthews became head coach of the Toronto Argonauts in 1996. The Argos made a huge signing with quarterback Doug Flutie; but arguably just as important was Matthews signing of Robert Drummond to be the clubs feature back. Drummond versatility as both a rusher and receiving threat out of the backfield were perfectly suited for the high octane Flutie led offence. Drummond led the CFL with 17 touchdowns (11 rushing 6 receiving) in 1996 and Toronto went all the way to the Grey Cup with Flutie; Drummond provided clutch carries in the 1996 Grey Cup to help Toronto win a thrilling contest 43-37 over Edmonton.
Drummond had established himself as one of the leagues top running backs in 1996 and with the most dominant offence in the league there was no reason to expect a letdown in 1997. Only a mid-season injury prevented Drummond from becoming the leagues first 1,000 yard rushing and 1,000 yard receiving dual threat. Drummond finished with 1,036 rushing and 806 yards receiving even with missing 3 games. Drummond’s highlight of the season was 4 rushing touchdowns versus Montreal in a July 31st contest. He led the league in touchdowns again with 18 in only 15 games.
Drummond signed with B.C. in 1998 as a free agent he only played in 12 games through the season due to injuries but still had impressive totals. In 1999 Drummond had his most productive season rushing the ball for a career high 1,309 yards.
Drummond was the Grey Cup MVP in 2000 with B.C. as along with Canadian fullback Sean Millington and quarterback Damon Allen B.C. employed an incredibly diverse running attack from the backfield not seen before in the CFL. Drummond had 122 yards on 10 carries that included a 44 yards romp for a touchdown in the victory. Head coach Steve Buratto used the running attack to perfection as B.C. triumphed over Montreal for an upset Grey Cup victory.
Robert Drummond enjoyed a productive season with the Lions in 2001 but age and salary concerns meant he was not brought back in 2002. Drummond returned to Toronto in 2002 for his final season in professional football. Drummond teamed with Quarterback Reggie Slack as Toronto employed an option style offence that had success. Toronto advanced to the Eastern Final but lost to the eventual Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes. Robert Drummond retired after the 2002 season as a 4 time Grey Cup champion.
Robert Drummond was as graceful a runner as any ever seen in Canadian football. Power and speed on an athletic build – no wasted movements – Drummond was the prototypical dual threat who brought football fans across the country out of their seats for 9 seasons.
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