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TORONTO -- Between the award, the game, and the revelation about his mom, Jon Cornish has made more headlines this week than ever before.

But the spotlight has been kind to the Calgary Stampeders running back, who hopes his openness has allowed fans to get to know him a little bit better.

"I certainly think that if you just see my actions and you don't hear any reasoning behind it, I can come off as sort of random or odd," Cornish said Saturday on the eve of the 100th Grey Cup. "I wouldn't mind being called random. But I certainly wouldn't consider myself odd.

"I'm just not a typical football player, that's all."

The 6-0, 217-pound Cornish had a record-setting season on the field.

He led the CFL in rushing with 1,457 yards, becoming the first Canadian to do so since Orville Lee achieved that feat in '88 with Ottawa. He also broke Norm Kwong's 56-year-old record for most rushing yards in a season by a Canuck (1,437 yards).

The 28-year-old from New Westminster, B.C., was named the CFL'S Most Outstanding Canadian earlier this week and was runner-up to Toronto's Chad Owens for Most Outstanding Player.

But he also made headlines for the wrong reasons.

Earlier this season he was fined by the CFL for mooning the crowd during a loss to the Roughriders in Regina.

"I let go of all my immaturity at that point," he said of the incident.

Fans have seen a different side of Cornish this week, in his heartfelt detailings of his mom's relationship.

Cornish's mom -- a mother of five kids -- is married to a woman, and that fact turned into a story this week when the running back spoke so eloquently about the woman he called "quite a remarkable woman."

In his acceptance speech at the CFL awards, Cornish thanked his mom Margaret.

"Well, my two moms," he added. "Because who are we without our families?"

"I think it opened people eyes when he talked about his family," Stamps coach John Hufnagel said. "So hopefully it's taken in the right proper way, and (fans) understand there is substance to Jon Cornish."

Quarterback Kevin Glenn sat elbow-to-elbow with Cornish in the news conference when the running back recounted how he came home for Christmas one year to discover his mom had fallen in love with a woman. It took Cornish 15 seconds to process, he said, before deciding that it was "pretty cool."

"I think that even shed some light on the type of person that he is," Glenn said.

"He's the type of guy that you have to get to know him, because before I got here, I'm not going to say I was judging a book by its cover, but I didn't know Jon," the quarterback added. "But getting here, I know him now, I understand and I know what type of person he is, and he's a great person."

The Toronto Argonauts should have their hands full trying to contain Cornish today at the Rogers Centre.

"They're explosive vertically and obviously Jon Cornish can pound you," Argos coach Scott Milanovich said of Calgary's offence.

But Cornish has been held to under 50 yards by the Argos in their two previous meetings this year, both Calgary losses.

Cornish said as much as he'd love to win the Grey Cup for himself, more than anything he'd love to help his teammates do it.

"There's a bunch of people on this team that I would really love to see hoist the Cup," Cornish said.

"At the end of the season, I won't be looking so much back on my own accomplishments, the numbers I've gotten and stuff like that, but most of all that I helped a few people on this team achieve their dreams."

Cornish and his teammates were in good spirits as they held their final practice before the championship.

"It's the best feeling," Cornish said. "I was mentally counting down every rep until zero. And it's nice to know after tomorrow I'll have a few months without football."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 26, 2012 $sourceSection0

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