TORONTO – During the second quarter of tonight’s game at Rogers Centre against Hamilton, Toronto Argonauts’ WR/KR Chad Owens passed Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons to set a new CFL and professional football record for combined yards in one season.
The Flyin’ Hawaiian did it with a 29-yard kickoff return against Hamilton midway through the second quarter of the Argos’ final game of the regular season.
New single-season combined yards record holder, Chad Owens enthused, “This record is a testament to a season-long body of work by my teammates and coaches. I would like to thank my family for always supporting me and all of the sacrifices they’ve made to get us to this point. It’s an honour to play this game and follow in the footsteps of great men like Michael Clemons who came before me. I feel fortunate and blessed to be in this position today and I’m so happy to have been able to do this at home in front of our fans.”
Owens, who was named the club’s Most Outstanding Player and was again the unanimous choice as the Argos’ Most Outstanding Special Teams Player, entered tonight’s game needing just 73 combined yards to pass Clemons who compiled 3,840 combined yards during a championship 1997 campaign.
On September 29 of this year, Owens became the first person in professional football history to amass at least 3,000 Combined Yards in three different seasons, all consecutively. A two time CFL all-star, the Flyin’ Hawaiian is also nearing an unprecedented total of more than 4,000 combined yards in 2012.
Canadian Football Hall of Fame player, Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons commented, “Trying to adequately reflect the magnitude of my admiration for Chad Owens is akin to trying to tackle him! Achieving this milestone wasn’t an ‘if’, but an eventual reality. In fact, in his first season, my wife Diane said, ‘He is going to be the one to break your record and you’re going to be the first person there to congratulate him.’ She’s right again! Poignantly, he has played through pain, injury and adversity, outworking both peers and opponents, while balancing a young family as an ever growing role model in Toronto and our greater country. It is my distinct honour to congratulate his amazing wife Rena, their three beautiful kids and one of the most exciting players in pro football history, at any position, in any era! Number 2, you are officially number 1 in our hearts and the record books!”
Owens was the first CFL player to catch for 1,000 yards in 2012 and already this year he has set a new club record for combined yards in a single game (402 yards, Sept. 3/12 at HAM), third-highest total in CFL history. He is poised to become the first player in history to lead the league in receiving yards and kick return yards. Owens is nearing his own club record for Most Total Kick Return Yards in a season (2,701 by Chad Owens in 2011) and established single-season personal career-highs for receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, and is among the CFL leaders in receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, punt return yards, punt return average, kickoff return yards and kickoff return average.
In 2011, Owens became the second player ever (Michael Clemons in 1990 & 1997) to experience two campaigns with at least 3,000 combined yards, and the first player ever to do it in back to back seasons. He could still set an all-time record of more than 4,000 combined yards in a single season – something no professional football player has ever achieved.