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Reilly named outstanding player


OTTAWA—Mike Reilly gladly would 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).

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.

“I hope my teammates see this for what it is, which is an award we all won together,” he added.

“It's something they can be proud of for all their hard work because we're not going to get the opportunity to write history together and have our names on that Cup, and that sucks.”

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 place in the West Division despite numerous injuries.

The 6'3", 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), and offensive touchdowns (52) while allowing a league-low 29 sacks.

Ray, 38, started 17 regular-season games after appearing in just 12 the past two seasons due to various injuries.

Ray led the CFL in pass attempts (668) and completions (442), finished tied with Reilly for most 300-yard games (12), and was second in passing yards (5,546).

It was Ray's first 5,000-yard season since '08 and fourth of his career.

He joins Hall-of-Famers Anthony Calvillo and Doug Flutie as the only players to reach that plateau four or more times.

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), and TSN's Paul Graham captured the Hugh Campbell Leadership Award.

Randy Ambrosie presented the Commissioner's Award posthumously to former CFL player Rick Sowieta.

Harris received 74 votes after posting a CFL-best 105 catches, the most-ever by a running back.

He also led the league in rushing (1,035 yards) as Winnipeg (12-6) earned its first home playoff game since 2011.

“I've always been told I was too slow, too Canadian," Harris said. ”To be standing here is something to be proud of.

“Those negative things keep you inspired to keep moving forward.”

Meanwhile, the 6'5", 308-pound Bryant garnered 60 votes for anchoring a Winnipeg offensive line that created holes for Harris and protected quarterback Matt Nichols (4,472 yards and 28 TDs).

The Bombers led the CFL in rushing (101.3 yards per game) and were second in offensive points (26.7 per game).

“It's a great honour," Bryant said. ”It's one of the goals I set for myself at the start of the season.

“But I couldn't have done it without [the other Bombers' offensive linemen],” he added.

“This award is also for those guys.”

Trestman, 61, earned his second coach-of-the-year honour (the 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.

Calgary's Dave Dickenson, last year's winner, was the West finalist.

The Stampeders had a CFL-best 13-4-1 record and are making their second-straight Grey Cup appearance.

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