The Winnipeg Blue Bombers‘ newest signing is looking forward to his CFL career, but as he told 680 CJOB’s Sports Show Tuesday night, it hasn’t been an easy road.
Detroit native Malik Boynton, who most recently played for the Memphis Express of the now-defunct Alliance of American Football (AAF), said he survived homelessness, poverty and a nearly career-ending injury on the way to his football dream.
“My upbringing was solid and stable up until I had just turned 14,” Boynton said.
“I lost my mom when I was getting ready to head into high school. That’s when everything kind of took a turn for me.
“My dad had just lost his job, and me and my siblings and my father were left in a situation we had to get out of.”
Boynton said the family leaned on friends and relatives to get by, initially moving in with an aunt, who died of cancer soon after.
“I broke off from the family and was living with friends, on couches, anywhere I could lay my head.
“I stuck with it. I put my head down. I made a promise to myself and to my family and said I was gonna make it happen – somehow, some way.”
Boynton went on to play defensive back for Austin Peay State University in Tennessee, and had a successful college career that was almost derailed by a freak 2016 injury that left him paralyzed for more than 15 minutes.
“I made contact with the running back, and I didn’t come down with the best form or technique,” he said.
“It wasn’t a good feeling. My arms gave out and then my legs gave out, and it was kind of crazy and surreal.”
“Even afterwards, doctors for a while told me I should just hang ’em up and focus on finishing my degree and appreciating the career I’d had with football… but I couldn’t go out like that. I knew I had so much more in me.”
Although he’s never visited Winnipeg and admitted he doesn’t know much about the city – he has heard the Bombers have passionate fans, however – Boynton said he’s excited about getting a new start, especially after playing in the failed AAF league.
Boynton – who has signed a contract with the team – will attend Bombers rookie camp in Florida.
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