Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ Andrew Harris and Stanley Bryant are both bringing home some hardware from Grey Cup week.
Harris was voted the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian while Bryant was chosen as the Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman on Thursday at the annual Shaw CFL Awards. It’s the first time a Bombers’ player has won either award since 2001.
“I’ve always been told I was too slow, too Canadian, I mean, didn’t go to a big school, so to be here, standing here right now is a big accomplishment and definitely something I’m proud of.” Harris said.
Harris, 30, led the CFL in rushing for the first time in his career. He finished with 1,035 yards rushing for his third career thousand yard season. He scored seven touchdowns and was also a threat in the Bombers passing attack. Harris had career bests in catches and receiving yards. He finished the 2017 season with 105 receptions for 857 yards to set a new CFL record for catches by a running back.
Harris received 74 of the 77 first place votes to beat out Ottawa RedBlacks receiver Brad Sinopoli who was the East Division’s nominee.
“I also want to thank the doubters and the haters cause that’s motivation,” Harris said.
“That’s what keeps you going, so for me it’s definitely a big accomplishment, but some of those negative things definitely keep you inspired and want to keep you moving forward when things aren’t going great.”
WATCH: Raw – Andrew Harris on winning Most Outstanding Canadian
Harris is just the eighth member of the Blue Bombers to win the honour, joining Gerry James (1954, 1957), Ken Nielsen (1968), Joe Poplawski (1981, 1986), Paul Bennett (1983), Scott Flagel (1987), Gerald Wilcox (1994) and Doug Brown (2001).
Bryant, 31, protected Matt Nichols’ blind side at left tackle. He started all 18 games and helped the Bombers lead the CFL in rushing in 2017. He also played a big part in the club allowing the least numbers of quarterback pressures in the league last season.
“It’s a great honour.” Bryant said. “Just one of those goals I set for myself at the beginning of the season, and it’s good to see things fall together like they have.”
Bryant received 60 first place votes. Toronto Argonauts offensive lineman Sean McEwen was nominated for the award from the East Division.
“I think over my career I’ve been a consistent guy on the offensive line. So it was kind of good to get the recognition.” Bryant said. “It was a great season even though we didn’t get to the Grey Cup and play in the Grey Cup, we still had a great season. It was just one of those years, man, everything just kind of fell together for us.”
WATCH: Raw – Stanley Bryant on winning Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman
Bryant is also the first Bombers’ player to grab top lineman in almost two decades. Dave Mudge was the last member of the club to win the award in 2001. Larry Butler (1981), John Bonk (1984), Nick Bastaja (1985), Chris Walby (1987) have also been named the league’s most outstanding offensive lineman.
Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly was named the Most Outstanding Player over Ricky Ray, receiving 64 of the 77 votes. Calgary Stampeders linebacker Alex Singleton is the defensive player of the year. Argos running back James Wilder Jr. brought home the top rookie honours, Marc Trestman is the coach of the year and kick returner Roy Finch was voted the Most Outstanding Special Teams Player.