CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Another one of the in-state connections coming out of the weekend’s NFL draft was former Eastern Kentucky receiver and Capital High all-state standout Tyrone Goard, who signed a free-agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.
“The paperwork all went through on Saturday evening after the draft and it’s exciting to know that I’m blessed to come from a smaller school and still have an opportunity to showcase my talents,” Goard said.
“I hope to bring to the team some more down-the-field help,” Goard said. “I want to be a guy that can stretch the field and make teams double-team me. I hope to open up the middle a little bit and somehow help out my team this year.
“There were other teams that were calling, but this was my best bet. They have the type of offense that I fit more into because they like to take chances down the field.”
Whether Goard ultimately makes the Bengals roster in the fall is still to be determined, but simply getting the opportunity is significant in itself.
“Not a lot of people get out and I know if I can do it, coming from a rough childhood, I know anybody can do it,” Goard said. “You have to stay positive, keep your mind on the good things and good things can happen.”
“Having the scholarship, I had to take advantage of it and get my degree. Football came second and all of it came at the right time — everything worked out for the best and I’m just blessed to be here.” — Tyrone Goard on opportunity at Eastern Kentucky
As a high school senior with Capital, Goard collected 53 catches for 879 yards and nine touchdowns, being named second-team all-state in Class AAA. He had walk-on offers at multiple schools in the WVIAC, including Charleston, Fairmont State, Concord and Glenville State. But the key for him was getting away from his usual surroundings and moving out more on his own.
“I didn’t want to stay in West Virginia because I knew my friends would be there and I knew I would be caught up in the wrong life,” he said. “Going through high school I was partying with them and I knew I didn’t want to do that anymore.”
So, plans for Goard switched from Division II to the junior college route, before another opportunity came with Eastern Kentucky — one that proved to be a solid fit in the end.
“Eastern (Kentucky) called me two weeks before football camp started and said they would offer me a full scholarship,” Goard said. “It was my only full scholarship, I was still close to home, so I thought why not take a chance? And that’s what I did.”
Goard graduated from Eastern Kentucky in December with a degree in criminal justice, something that gives him security in the future, regardless of what happens on the football field.
“The whole goal was to come to school, play football, and most of all, get my education, because it was free,” Goard said. “My family wasn’t dirt-poor, but we didn’t have money either. There was no way my parents would be able to pay for full (tuition). So, having the scholarship, I had to take advantage of it and get my degree. Football came second and all of it came at the right time. Everything worked out for the best and I’m just blessed to be here.”
Now, with his college degree in hand, Goard’s focus turns to trying to make the Bengals’ roster as rookie camps begin May 9.
“All of my family is from Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia, so it’s close to home,” Goard said of the Bengals. “I have a lot of support here also.”