Argonauts Chad Owens named 2012 Gibson’s Finest CFL Most Outstanding Player

TORONTO –Toronto Argonauts receiver and kick returner Chad Owens was named the 2012 Gibson’s Finest CFL Most Outstanding Player. Owens was presented the award earlier tonight at the Gibson’s Finest CFL Player Awards at Koerner Hall in downtown Toronto, site of the 100th Grey Cup.

The other players honoured at tonight’s annual awards show included Edmonton Eskimos linebacker JC Sherritt (Most Outstanding Defensive Player), Calgary Stampeders running back Jon Cornish (Most Outstanding Canadian), BC Lions offensive tackle Jovan Olafioye (Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman), Hamilton Tiger-Cats receiver and kick returner Chris Williams(Most Outstanding Special Teams Player), Winnipeg Blue Bombers receiver Chris Matthews (Most Outstanding Rookie) and Montreal Alouettes receiver Brian Bratton (Tom Pate Memorial Award).

“The 100th Grey Cup is an opportunity to celebrate our proud past, but it’s also an opportunity to celebrate our bright future,” said CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon. “Tonight’s award recipients, and the seasons they had this year, are clear indicators that our league’s future is in very capable and exciting hands. On behalf of the CFL and our fans across the country, congratulations on this well deserved honour.”

Cohon also thanked and honoured all players who have ever put on a CFL uniform by presenting them and their families with the annual Commissioner’s Award. The Commissioner’s Award is handed out to someone or a group who have made a tremendous contribution to the Canadian Football League.

“This goes not only to the superstars — the Fluties and Moons and Jacksons and Calvillos — but to every guy who came to camp, waited patiently on a PR, played one year, or one game, or one play -because every player in our history, has made us what we are today.

“And this award belongs, just as much, to their Moms and Dads, wives and girlfriends, sons and daughters – the loved ones who often endure months apart, sudden trades, the disappointment that comes with a loss, as well as the joy that comes with victory – and the reality that affects the entire family when it’s not just the season that’s over, but the career, too.”

The 2012 Most Outstanding Player Awards were selected by 57 voters, including CFL head coaches and members of the Football Reporters of Canada (FRC) representing all eight markets and a national chapter.

Here is a closer look at tonight’s award winners:

Chad Owens – Toronto Argonauts – Receiver / Kick Returner

Most Outstanding Player

Number of first place votes: 41

In just his fourth season in the CFL, Chad Owens set a record for most combined yards in a single season, became the first player in CFL history to lead the league in both receiving and kick return yards and became the first player in pro football history to record three separate seasons of 3,000 combined yards.

Owens finished the season with 94 receptions for 1,328 yards and six touchdowns. He also returned 71 kickoffs for 1,588 yards, 77 punts for 828 yards and four missed field goal returns for 94 yards. His league-leading and record-setting total combined yards was 3,863 yards.

This is the third straight season Owens has been nominated for a major CFL award. He was named the East Division Most Outstanding Special Teams Player in 2010 and 2011, and was awarded CFL Most Outstanding Special Teams Player in 2010. This is his first Most Outstanding Player award.

JC Sherritt – Edmonton Eskimos – Linebacker

Most Outstanding Defensive Player

Number of first place votes: 49

In just his second season in the CFL, Sherritt finished with a league leading and recording-breaking 130 defensive tackles, as well as three special teams tackles, three sacks, one fumble recovery and five interceptions. Along the way, he earned four Defensive Player of the Week awards and three Defensive Player of the Month awards.

Last year, Sherritt was named the West Division Most Outstanding Rookie. This is his first Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award.

Jon Cornish – Calgary Stampeders – Running Back

Most Outstanding Canadian

Number of first place votes: 54

In 2012, Cornish rushed for 1,457 yards, breaking Normie Kwong’s 56-year-old single-season rushing record for a Canadian. The total also allowed him to win the 2012 CFL rushing title by 180 yards over his closest pursuer.

Cornish’s rushing total this past season was the highest in the CFL since 2009, the third-best since 2006 and the seventh-best single-season total in franchise history. He shared the league lead with 11 rushing touchdowns and was also a threat in the passing game as he had 38 catches for 338 yards and two scores.

The 28-year-old from New Westminster, B.C., was named the CFL’s Canadian player of the month in August, September and October/November. He was also voted Canadian player of the week on seven occasions and offensive player of the week once.

This is Cornish’s first Most Outstanding Canadian award.

Jovan Olafioye – B.C. Lions – Offensive Tackle

Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman

Number of first place votes: 37

In 2012, Olafioye anchored a Lions offensive line that enabled the club to lead the league in yards per game as well as rushing yards. The Lions also allowed the fewest number of sacks with 30 (tied with Montreal). A fixture along the Lions front, Olafioye has not missed a start in his three seasons in the CFL, all with the Lions.

Last year Olafioye was named the West Division Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman. This is his first CFL Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman award.

Chris Williams – Hamilton Tiger-Cats – Receiver / Kick Returner

Most Outstanding Special Teams Player

Number of first place votes: 56

In just his second season in the CFL, Williams returned 78 punts for 1,117 yards – an average of 14.3 yards per return – and tied the league single-season record with five punt return touchdowns. He also returned five missed field goals for 256 yards and one touchdown, setting a new CFL record with six kick return touchdowns in a single season.

In addition to his outstanding performance on special teams, the 2011 Most Outstanding Rookie also led the Ticats with 83 receptions, 1,298 receiving yards and 11 receiving touchdowns. His 17 total touchdowns set a new team record.

This is his first Most Outstanding Special Teams award.

Chris Matthews – Winnipeg Blue Bombers – Receiver

Most Outstanding Rookie

Number of first place votes: 53

Matthews started all 18 games at wide receiver for the Blue Bombers and finished the regular season with 81 receptions for 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns, all of which were team-highs among receivers. His yardage total was good enough for sixth best in the league and his 14.7 yards per catch was the fourth best among receivers who caught over 60 passes.

The product of Kentucky quickly made a name for himself this season recording two 100-yard games within the first three weeks and six 100-yard games overall. He hauled in at least seven catches in five different regular season games.

Brian Bratton – Montreal Alouettes – Receiver

Tom Pate Memorial Award

Montreal Alouettes receiver Brian Bratton has been named the 2012 recipient of the Tom Pate Memorial Award. The Tom Pate Memorial Award is handed out each year to a CFL player who displays qualities that distinguish them from their peers.

Every year the CFLPA invites each CFL Club to nominate a team member for this award. The recipient must be a player with outstanding sportsmanship and someone who has made a significant contribution to his team, his community and the Association.

Photo:  Mona Ghiz



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