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This article was published 22/11/2018 (671 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
EDMONTON — On the same day he found out he had been left off the CFL Players Association’s all-star team, a rather eye-brow raising move made by his peers, Winnipeg Blue Bombers middle linebacker Adam Bighill was honoured with one of the league’s most prestigious awards for his role in 2018.
Bighill was named the CFL’s most outstanding defensive player Thursday night at the annual awards gala, part of Grey Cup week in Edmonton. The 30-year-old native of Montesano, Wash., earned 57 of 60 first-place votes over East nominee, Hamilton Tiger-Cats linebacker Larry Dean. It’s the second time in his seven-year CFL career that Bighill has been named the league’s best player on defence, winning it first as a member of the B.C. Lions in 2015.
"When you put the work in you hope that these things can come and be an opportunity to you. I never have goals of winning these awards but I have goals of working as hard as I can every single day that should put me in place to be in these conversations," Bighill said. "When you put that work in it is validating when you are awarded these kinds of things. It’s truly special."
Both Bighill and Dean were tied for the third-most defensive tackles this season, with 105, but Bighill added four sacks, two interceptions — one he returned for a touchdown — and registered a league-high four forced fumbles while playing a key role on a Bombers defence that finished tied for first with the Calgary Stampeders for most takeaways (49), second in points allowed (23.3 per game), and tied for second-fewest yards allowed per play (6.0).
Bighill was one of three Bombers nominated for league awards, and one of two winners on the night.
Left tackle Stanley Bryant was named the CFL’s top offensive lineman for the second straight year, beating out Hamilton guard Brandon Revenberg with 44 first-place votes. Bryant flanked an offensive line that had three divisional all-stars — Bryant, centre Matthias Goossen and right guard Sukh Chungh — and was considered among the best front-fives in the league.
"Even going back to my days in Calgary, I was nominated a few times but I never thought I would actually win," Bryant said. "To be able to win it back-to-back now is a big deal, it’s an honour."
Running back Andrew Harris, who claimed the CFL rushing title for a second straight season with the Bombers, lost a close call to Ottawa Redblacks receiver Brad Sinopoli for the most outstanding Canadian. Harris, who won the award for the first time last season, had 28 first-place votes — four fewer than Sinopoli. The four-vote difference was the smallest margin among finalists.
Sinopoli finished with 1,376 receiving yards and four touchdowns. His 116 receptions set a new CFL record for most catches by a Canadian, eclipsing the old mark of 112 set by Ben Cahoon in 2003.
"I will say that Andrew is obviously a very good football player, he’s consistent, he’s fun to watch and he’s good for this league," Sinopoli said. I’ve always respected how he plays and who he is as a person."
Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was named the league’s most outstanding player for a second time in his career, totalling 47 first-place votes to defeat fellow quarterback Jeremiah Masoli of the Ticats. Mitchell paced the league with 35 passing touchdowns and threw for 5,124 yards — the third most among pivots — despite playing much of the season with a depleted receiving corps.
After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.
Updated on Friday, November 23, 2018 at 12:30 AM CST: Fixes date in story
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