Kyrie Wilson can’t help but smile when you bring it up.

Kyrie Wilson can’t help but smile when you bring it up.

And with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats coming to town on Friday night for a Week 3 meeting at IG Field, this week is the perfect time to do so.

“OK, so let me go back now,” said Wilson after Wednesday’s closed practice at IG Field when asked about his Grey Cup-sealing interception in overtime of last year’s championship game against Hamilton.

“It was an exciting play. I saw (Jeremiah) Masoli roll out to the weak-side and he just threw the ball and we always talk about running to the ball, so, I ran to the ball. (Deatrick Nicols) tipped it, and (Winston) Rose tipped it again and it just happened to fall in my hands and bam, we were champions again.”

The 29-year-old linebacker from Bakersfield, Calif., never let go of the ball as he kept it and proudly gave it to his dad after the game.

“The crazy part is he didn’t even know that I caught the ball because he was sitting on the far end,” Wilson said.

“So, he was like ‘Why do you have the ball?’ And my stepmom was like ‘Because he made the winning play!’ And he was like ‘Oh!’ So, it was a special moment. He was excited and he actually has it in his living room now.”

Wilson, now in his fifth season with the Bombers, will always be remembered for that play, which is fine by him, but he’s far from a one-hit wonder. The word that often gets used to describe the Fresno State product is “underrated” as Wilson has quietly become one of the best linebackers in the CFL. He’s been stellar through the first two weeks of the season and had five tackles and a sack in last Friday’s 19-12 victory in Ottawa.

“I think he’s a fantastic player. Probably one of the most underrated players in the league,” said Bombers linebacker Adam Bighill. “Having him here has been a lot of fun… He’s playing the best he’s ever played and he just keeps getting better and that’s the expectation. He works hard and I’ve been super proud of him.”

For head coach Mike O’Shea, Wilson has been deserving of praise for quite some time. Although, the team almost dropped the ball with him back in 2017 when they released Wilson in June before adding him to the practice squad the following month.

“I would say you guys are a little late on him. He’s been a good player for a long time,” O’Shea said.

“And that falls into the lines of when you release a guy, they shouldn’t take your word for it… I mean, he’s fast, quick, strong, he understands the game. A couple years ago, he ended up leaving a few plays on the field. He had already made a pile of plays, but if he makes a couple more of those, he’s up there in some pretty interesting conversations. He’s got the ability to make plays all over the field and he does.”

And if that recognition comes this year with an all-star nod, that’d be nice, but Wilson isn’t concerned with personal accolades or lack thereof. He’s more focused on adding a third ring to his finger and another championship game ball to his dad’s shelf.

“Whatever I gotta do to help win games, that’s all that matters. Even if I don’t get credit, at the end of the day, we’re all just shooting for one goal. At the end of the day, if people say I’m underrated, it’s all good. But I’m going to keep working and pushing to do what’s best for the team… I have goals and stuff, but at the same time, you don’t want that to get in front of the biggest goal.”

taylor.allen@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen
Reporter

Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of...