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Cory Boyd, the Broncos' next 100-yard runner, was once "back like cooked crack"

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When Peyton Hillis became the 47th Bronco running back to go down with an injury this year, he opened the door for rookie Cory Boyd to be the next back to rush his way onto your fantasy playoff roster. Sure, the Broncos will trot out Tatum Bell as the starter, but Bell proved on Sunday to be one of the few human beings alive unable to run behind the Broncos' zone-blocking scheme.

I honestly wish there were goofy prop bets on random rookie running backs in random mid-season NFL games, because I'd take even money that Boyd, who played at South Carolina and was drafted by Tampa Bay in April, rushes for a hundred yards sometime before season's end. But here's the best part: Even if he goes for 200, it won't be his most memorable TV moment.

Boyd, it turns out, has some very Maurice Clarett-ian qualities to him. The 23-year-old Jersey native was suspended for the entire 2005 season by South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier -- not exactly a vaunted disciplinarian -- for undisclosed reasons. "Boyd has issues he is working on," Spurrier told Scouts.com at the time.

Boyd returned in 2006, but was apparently worried that his time off may have threatened his reputation as a devoted thug. After scoring a touchdown, he was caught by a sideline cameraman in a typical Hi-Mom moment. But instead of waving to family back home, Boyd looked into the camera and announced, "I'm back... back like cooked crack!"

Never mind the inaccuracy (pretty sure cooked crack is always en vogue, Cory): It wasn't exactly the best way to ingratiate himself to future employers. But Boyd was drafted anyway, in the seventh round by Tampa Bay, given yet another chance by yet another coach. And how did he embrace the opportunity? By getting in a fist fight -- during a symposium designed to teach rookies how to handle themselves in the league.

What'd they fight over? Tax policy, of course.

The two had been jawing at each other all day, which I'm sure the lecturers loved, and it ultimately boiled over right in the middle of the session. Apparently Boyd wanted a higher tax rate for the wealthy while Talib was vouching for a flat tax. And of course fights are always how these disagreements are solved.

All of which sort of explains why Boyd apparently shed a tear after being promoted from the Broncos' practice squad, where he'd landed after getting run out of Tampa Bay:

Boyd said Hillis made a special point to approach him and tell him to make the most of whatever opportunity he gets -- just as Hillis had done when given his opportunity due to injuries. "Peyton even came to me yesterday after the game and said, 'This is God's will -- it happened for a reason.' It brought a tear to my eye," Boyd said. "He is a good player, he is team player."

Does that tear mean Boyd has finally realized the opportunity before him? Maybe. But just in case, keep the sideline cameras off of him. -- Joe Tone

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