Kyran Moore hopes to celebrate an elusive milestone in grand style.
“A personal goal of mine is to reach 1,000 yards this year,” the speedy Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver said during a recent Zoom call with reporters. “That has been on my mind since the last game, when I found out I was four yards short.”
The Roughriders have not played a regular-season game since Nov. 2, 2019, when they defeated the visiting Edmonton Elks 23-13 to clinch first place in the CFL’s West Division.
Moore caught five passes for 43 yards in that game, thereby finishing the regular season with 996 yards.
Not since 1976 had a Roughriders receiver come so close to hitting 1,000 yards without reaching that plateau.
Forty-five years ago, Rhett Dawson also registered 996 yards while, like Moore, helping Saskatchewan finish first in the West.
Moore is certainly in esteemed company. Dawson, a two-time all-star who caught 10 touchdown passes in both of his full seasons in Saskatchewan, was a 2006 inductee into the Roughriders’ shrine — the Plaza of Honour.
One day, Moore could very well be a natural enshrinee, considering his abundant talent — which he has only begun to display at this early juncture in his professional football career — and the recent birth of his daughter.
Her name: Honor.
“It’s the first time being a father,” Moore noted, “so I spent as much time as I could with my little girl during the pandemic.”
She is already teaching him lessons in life.
“I can’t be selfish anymore,” a proud father said. “I know I’m 24 and I’ve got a lot to live for and a lot that I haven’t seen yet.
“Having her made me grow up a little bit. A lot of stuff that I felt that I wasn’t ready for or a lot of stuff that I feared doing, I just went out there and took a leap and just did it.”
His unselfishness and caring nature were also evident outside the realm of fatherhood.
“I also had a job during the pandemic where we used to go to poor areas where they were handing out food — breakfast, lunch and dinner,” said Moore, who is from Bessemer, Ala.
Moore was involved with Kikstart Inc., a non-profit organization which has the following mission statement: “Our goal has always been to help those most vulnerable in our community, the children. By providing programs that help them succeed in life we provide hope to their life. Today we serve thousands of nutritious meals each month.”
The benefits were also felt by the people who provided the meals.
“Some of the communities I went to, either my dad grew up there or some of my family members stayed there,” Moore recalled. “It just made me feel like it’s a different part of life.
“I still go over there and see my family all the time, but just seeing the people in the community and how together they are, no matter what we came out with, they were always grateful and thankful that we came.
“Sometimes we’d go to a school and they’d bring all the kids. I was just happy to be a part of it, because I saw it grow. It started out small and it got bigger and bigger.”
Moore, by contrast, is a pleasant young man of modest dimensions and demeanour.
At 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, he is easily the smallest member of the Roughriders’ projected starting receiving corps. He is also the most dynamic.
Despite having recorded team-high totals of 78 receptions and six touchdown catches in 2019, Moore has barely scratched the surface.
His big-play capability was evident on July 1, 2019, when he scored on a 98-yard pass-and-run collaboration with Cody Fajardo. That was the Roughriders’ longest play since July 5, 2002, when Nealon Greene found Derick Armstrong for a 100-yard scoring bomb.
Moore accounted for five receptions and 127 yards while setting off Canada Day fireworks in his own way. That outburst gave him 16 catches for 287 yards after three games — a scorching start that put him on pace for a 96-catch, 1,722-yard season.
Subsequently, though, the playmaker known as “Swerve” was not quite as involved in the offence.
He exceeded 100 receiving yards in two of the Roughriders’ first three games, but reached the century mark only once more over the remaining 15 regular-season contests.
Fast forward to 2021, following the COVID-19-induced cancellation of the 2020 campaign. COVID has also necessitated the streamlining of the looming regular season, which will consist of 14 games per team instead of the usual 18.
Even with the shortened schedule, Moore is a good bet to reach 1,000 yards. Jason Maas, who has succeeded Stephen McAdoo as the Roughriders’ offensive co-ordinator, is likely to make the best use of Moore’s myriad talents.
So expect a pile of catches from a thoughtful young man who, as the beneficiaries of Kikstart can attest, is happy to lend his helping hands to other causes.
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