Calvillo wins CFL's outstanding player award
Another year, another award for Anthony Calvillo.
The veteran Montreal Alouettes quarterback won the CFL's most outstanding player honour at the league's annual awards ceremony Thursday night in Montreal, claiming the award for the second time in his career.
Calvillo, a four-time nominee who also won the prize in 2003, beat out Calgary Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris to win the award, which was voted on by the Football Reporters of Canada and the eight CFL head coaches.
Burris and Calvillo will face off against one another on the field in Sunday night's 96th Grey Cup game in Montreal.
Calvillo, 36, led the CFL in touchdown passes (43), pass attempts (682), completions (472) and passer rating (107.2) this season, leading Montreal (11-7) to first place in the East.
That the 15-year veteran had such an amazing season speaks volumes about his character: Calvillo left the Alouettes late last season after his wife Alexia Kontolemos was diagnosed with cancer after having just given birth to their second child.
"This week isn't going by too fast for me, I'm soaking it all in," Calvillo said. "[Alexis] has taught me about strength and courage.
"I dreamed about this, of living a normal life and getting back to a championship. We thank God for allowing us to share more moments together. If [winning this award] would've happened years ago, I wouldn't have thought about it until a few weeks after the season. But I'm thinking about it now."
Calvillo said he will decide in the off-season whether to continue playing or retire.
"I'm year-to-year," he said. "I still have the fire and urge to play but there are non-football factors I have to take in mind.
"The main thing is my wife's health. I don't feel 36 but it's the young guys who remind me of where I'm at."
Burris finished second in touchdowns (39) and passer rating (103.8) for the West champion Stampeders (13-5).
Earlier on Thursday, Edmonton Eskimos slotback Kamau Peterson captured his first-ever CFL top Canadian award. Peterson beat Montreal Alouettes slotback Ben Cahoon, a two-time top Canadian recipient, to claim the honour.
An eight-year CFL veteran, Peterson had his best CFL season in 2008, leading all Eskimo receivers with 101 receptions for 1,317 yards and four touchdowns.
In doing so, he became just the fourth receiver in club history to record more than 100 catches in a season, joining the likes of Terry Vaughn (106 in 2003), Craig Ellis (106 in 1990) and Brian Kelly (104 in 1983).
Peterson is the first Eskimo to win an outstanding player award since rush end Elfrid Payton was named the league's top defensive player in 2002.
Montreal Alouettes guard Scott Flory was named the outstanding lineman. Gene Makowsky of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, a two-time recipient of the award, was the other finalist.
Flory, a 32-year-old native of Regina, had been a finalist for this award three other times during his 13-year career, including in 2005 when he lost to Makowsky.
This season, Flory was the star of a Montreal offensive line that gave up a league-low 22 sacks.
B.C. Lions defensive end Cameron Wake was named the CFL's outstanding defensive player ahead of Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive tackle Doug Brown.
It's the second consecutive year that Wake has won the honour.
Wake, who was also named the CFL's top rookie last year, recorded a league-high 23 sacks in 2008. He also had five forced fumbles — another league high — and 65 tackles.
The rookie of the year honour went to slotback Weston Dressler of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Hamilton Tiger-Cats receiver Prechae Rodriguez was the finalist
Dressler registered 56 catches for 1,178 yards and 10 touchdowns while also serving as an effective kick returner.
Dominque Dorsey of the Toronto Argonauts was named the CFL's top special-teams player.
Despite missing Toronto's final five regular-season games due to injury, Dorsey posted a CFL-high 2,892 all-purpose yards.
He finished second overall in kickoff returns (50 for 1,257 yards, one TD) and missed field goal returns (five for 187 yards) and third in punt returns (63 for 752 yards, one TD).
Calgary Stampeders kicker Sandro DeAngelis was the other finalist.
CFL commissioner Mark Cohon presented the Commissioner's Award, which recognizes outstanding contribution to the league, to the family of Ron Lancaster, the legendary former CFL player, coach and broadcaster who died in September at the age of 69.
"Ron Lancaster did it all in our league," Cohon said. "He is typical of the friends who left us this year, role models and mentors who were often as humble as they were highly accomplished."
Saskatchewan centre Jeremy O'Day received the Tom Pate award, given by the CFL Players' Association for outstanding community service.
With files from Canadian Press