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Thursday, November 23, 2017


OTTAWA - Mike Reilly would gladly change places with Ricky Ray.

The Edmonton Eskimos quarterback was named the CFL's outstanding player by the Football Reporters of Canada and eight league coaches (77 votes) on Thursday evening at Grey Cup festivities in Ottawa. Ray was the runner-up but will lead the Toronto Argonauts into the Grey Cup against the Calgary Stampeders on Sunday.

"Without a doubt, no question,'' Reilly said emphatically. ``I don't even have to think about that."

Reilly, 32, started all 18 regular-season games and led Edmonton (12-6) to five straight wins to end the regular season and clinch third in the West Division despite numerous injuries. The six-foot-three, 230-pound Reilly received 64 votes after leading the CFL in passing (5,830 yards) and finishing tied with Ottawa's Trevor Harris for most TDs (30).

Reilly also ran for 12 TDs and had 39 completions of 30-plus yards, both league-best marks. Edmonton led the CFL in net offence (406.8 yards), offensive points (27.2 per game), offensive touchdowns (52) while allowing a league-low 29 sacks.

Other winners included running back Andrew Harris (Canadian) and Stanley Bryant (lineman) of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, linebacker Alex Singleton and kick-returner Roy Finch (special-teams) of the Stampeders as well as running back James Wilder Jr, (rookie) and Marc Trestman (coach) of the Argos.

Montreal centre Luc Brodeur-Jourdan received the Jake Gaudaur Veteran's Award (possessing positive qualities of Canada's veterans), Edmonton receiver Adarius Bowman claimed the Tom Pate Award (outstanding community service) while TSN's Paul Graham captured the Hugh Campbell Leadership Award. And Randy Ambrosie presented the Commissioner's Award posthumously to former CFL player Rick Sowieta.

Trestman, 61, earned his second honour (first was in '09 with Montreal) with 54 votes. In his first year with Toronto, Trestman guided the Argos (9-9) to a Grey Cup berth following last year's 5-13 mark.

After thanking his family, Argos GM Jim Popp, Toronto players and coaches as well as all CFL players and coaches, Trestman was especially appreciative of Wilder Jr. sharing his award with his offensive line.

"I think that was great, James is a real guy,'' Trestman said. "It was unexpected but I was proud of him.''

Calgary's Dave Dickenson, last year's winner, was the finalist. The Stampeders had a CFL-best 13-4-1 record and are making their second straight Grey Cup appearance.

(Canadian Press)