It may be a losing season, but there are still some performances worthy of celebrating.
The Roughriders player awards were announced Wednesday morning and voted on by members of the Football Reporters of Canada and CFL coaches last week.
Naaman Roosevelt was selected as the team’s Most Outstanding Player, Otha Foster for Most Outstanding Defensive Player, Thaddeus Coleman took Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman honours, Justin Cox, Most Oustanding Rookie and Tyler Crapigna was voted Most Outstanding Canadian and Most Outstanding Special Teams Player.
Roosevelt called his nomination a little bit of a surprise, given he only played 11 games this season, but in those 11 games he hit 1095 receiving yards.
When you get an honour like that, (it’s) just excitement,” Roosevelt said. “(I’m) just happy to be part of this team, that’s my main thing.”
But not focusing on what could have been had he stayed healthy is hard for him, he said.
Roosevelt’s season was cut short after a knee injury, though he declined to expand on the seriousness of it. It was his second year with the Roughriders, and his contract is up.
Roosevelt said the Roughriders and his agent have been talking and he’d like to be back. He’d like Darian Durant to be back with him, too.
“That’s my quarterback, I want him to be here too. I just see where this team is going and it’s exciting to see and once we get it down it’ll be a great thing.”
“It feels great,” Foster said when asked how he felt about the award. “We had a lot of great players on our defence especially. To win that is a great accomplishment.”
Foster in second on the team with 66 defensive tackles, also amassing five knockdowns, four tackles for a loss, three sacks and interception and a fumble.
But the personal awards are also a little bittersweet for Foster, given the team’s record this season.
Foster came to the Roughriders in the off season after having played with head coach Chris Jones in Edmonton. He said there were definitely challenges in going from a Grey Cup winner to a losing season.
“It was probably the most difficult thing I’ve dealt with in a long time,” he said. “It was very difficult mentally and emotionally but we were able to stick through and keep pushing and playing week in and week out.”
Tyler Crapigna said his two nominations couldn’t have come without the people around him who make his job kicking field goals a lot easier.
“I really couldn’t have been in the position I was without my holder (punter) Josh Bartel and one of the four long snappers we had this year,” he said with a chuckle.
Crapigna started the year out with Jorgen Hus snapping, but an unexpected injury had the team scrambling to find a new long snapper – which is when they brought in Dan MacDonald.
That happened just before Labour Day and it was his worst performance of the year, but it didn’t take him out for long.
And Crapigna’s leg and his ability to consistently put the ball between the uprights have won the Roughriders three of its five football games this year, including two against Ottawa and one against Hamilton.
Overall,he’s connected on 35 of 40 field goal attempts and a 87.5 per cent accuracy rating. His longest was 53 yards and he has 127 total points on the season.
“It takes a little bit away that we haven’t been winning as much as we wanted to and still getting these awards,” Crapigna admitted.” But I mean it’s always nice just to get some recognition and I feel like me getting this recognition other guys on the team like the holders and the snappers get the recognition they deserve too. So it comes together hand in hand so I’m pretty happy about it and I think they should be as well.”
He started all 17 regular season games and played the first 14 games at right tackle before moving over to left tackle. The last Rider to win CFL Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman was Brendon LaBatte in 2013.
He started all 15 games he played. He has a team leading four interceptions and also registered 42 defensive tackles, nine knockdowns, three tackles for loss, two special teams tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. The last Rider to win CFL Most Outstanding Rookie was Weston Dressler in 2008.
The East and West Division winners for the 2016 CFL Awards will be announced Nov. 10.