Brad Sinopoli earns Most Outstanding Canadian honours

EDMONTON — Brad Sinopoli has truly raised the bar for Canadian pass-catchers in the Canadian Football League.

The Ottawa REDBLACKS receiver continued his memorable season on Thursday night at Edmonton’s Winspear Centre, being named Most Outstanding Canadian at the 2018 Shaw CFL Awards.

Sinopoli barely edged out Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Andrew Harris, earning 32 out of 60 first-place votes to win the honour for the second time in his career.

“It’s a great experience,” Sinopoli said after accepting his award. “I’ve loved the CFL since before I can remember. I’ve watched a lot of Canadian players go through and it’s an honour to be here.”

The Peterborough, Ont. native will look to cap off his historic season with a victory in the 106th Grey Cup presented by Shaw on Sunday, as his REDBLACKS take on the Calgary Stampeders.

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Sinopoli’s award only magnifies his remarkable transition from quarterback prospect in university with the Ottawa Gee-Gees to one of the CFL’s most consistent and reliable receivers.

“I think anytime you’re given an opportunity, it’s rare,” said Sinopoli of his change of position. “When you’re given a second opportunity, it’s even more rare. The second time when I came back, I tried not to take the days for granted. Just one day at a time was kind of my motto.

“One catch at a time, get up and try to do it again. You always have to have great people around you. That’s the one thing I think I can say, I’ve been a part of some really good teams and organizations, so I’m just really thankful for that.”

The 30-year-old set a new single-season record for receptions by a Canadian, passing former Montreal Alouettes legend Ben Cahoon, who set the previous record for Canadian receptions with 112 in 2003.

Sinopoli led the CFL with 116 receptions for 1,376 yards and scored four touchdowns this season to help the REDBLACKS win the East Division. His 1,376 receiving yards were the third-highest in the CFL this season, marking the fourth consecutive season he reached 1,000 receiving yards.

He also led the league with 486 yards after the catch and was second in the league with 36 second-down conversion catches.

This is the second time Sinopoli has taken home the honour and his third time being a finalist. His first time winning the award came in 2015 in his second year of being a member of the REDBLACKS. It also marks the second time he has squared off with Harris for the award.

The last Ottawa player before Brad Sinopoli to win this award was Tony Gabriel in 1978.