Running back Chad Simpson is the 2012 nominee as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Most Outstanding Player.
Simpson -- who rushed for 1,039 yards and 5 TDs in just 14 games this season -- was announced as the club’s MOP Wednesday morning as the Bombers announced all six of their nominees for the season-ending CFL awards that will be announced late next month in Toronto during Grey Cup Week.
"It feels great. I had no idea this was even going on today. I just found out," said Simpson, who was at a doctor's appointment Wednesday morning and did not receive the news until he arrived back at Canad Inns Stadium just as practice ended.
"It means a lot to me. I’ve been trying to show the world for awhile what I could do if I was ever a starting (running) back. I’d always missed that opportunity for some reason. The NFL is a hard place. But Winnipeg gave me a shot and I’m very grateful for it."
Winnipeg’s other nominees were receiver Chris Matthews (75 receptions, 1,137 yards, 7 TDs) as the club’s top rookie; kicker Justin Palardy (FG’s -- 36-41) is the team’s most outstanding special teams player; middle linebacker Henoc Muamba (55 tackles, 2 sacks, 5 forced fumbles) is the most outstanding Canadian; tackle Glenn January is the team’s most outstanding offensive lineman; and Alex Hall (9 sacks) is the club’s top defensive player.
The Bombers made the announcement just as the team took the field Wednesday morning for practice in advance of this Saturday’s game final game at Canad Inns Stadium between the Bombers and the Montreal Alouettes, the final regular season game of the season for both teams and the final game of any kind for the Bombers in 2012.
The awards were bittersweet for some.
"If I was given the option of not winning this award and making the playoffs," mused January, "I’d definitely take a playoff team over this."
Still, January said he was humbled to receive an honour that has gone to some of the all-time Bomber greats over the years. "When I first got to Winnipeg, I went back and looked at all the players that have been honoured with this award in the past -- the (Chris) Walby’s, the (Miles) Gorrell’s and the Lyle Bauer's of the world. To think my name is going to be on that list with those guys is pretty special."
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Field Notes -- Bombers Head Coach Tim Burke said defensive tackle Bryant Turner has been ruled out to play against Montreal. Turner has been nursing a leg injury and was listed as questionable earlier this week... The Bombers will hold their final ever full practice at Canad Inns Stadium on Thursday.. Burke predicted Matthews will win the league honour as Rookie of the Year.