TORONTO — It’s been an incredible third campaign in the CFL for Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive tackle Dylan Wynn.
After spending his first two years with the Toronto Argonauts, Wynn made the trip down the QEW to join the Tabbies ahead of this season. He’s been a quarterback’s worst nightmare and has helped the team to its best start in over two decades.
On the latest episode of The Waggle presented by Sport Clips, Wynn joined Brodie Lawson to talk about his strong campaign and playing on the other side of the Labour Day Classic.
Episode 174: Labour Day lives up to the hype
EPISODE OVERVIEW: Donnovan is joined by Brodie Lawson for the post-Labour Day edition of the Waggle. Dylan Wynn joins us for an interview while we look ahead to what next weekend’s rematches have to offer.
EPISODE RUNDOWN: A Labour Day gift for Donnovan (2:30); Former Argos ball out in the Hammer (6:00pm); Rivalries heat up on Labour Day (11:00); Setting up the Banjo Bowl(14:25); Canadian player shoutouts (19:00); Favourite game day experience (22:20); Bo is back!! (24:10); Dylan Wynn 1-on-1 interview (35:30); Grey Cup Leo Vegas odds (53:00).
“I didn’t know I had that many so that’s awesome,” Wynn said when he found out that he had nine sacks on the year. “I don’t pay too much attention to that sort of stuff. I’m just a normal guy that gets to play football. I just go to work every day and try to do the best I can and detail my jobs.
“On this defence, everyone gets the chance to be a star and shine and I guess I’m just living right. Things are just going well and I guess that’s how football is.”
Wynn played his college ball at Oregon State. Over four years with the Beavers, he accumulated 214 total tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, one interception, three forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries.
Despite having a solid resume, he went undrafted in 2015, and after spending parts of two seasons with the Cleveland Browns, the Concord, Calif., native made his way North.
He signed a deal with the Argos in 2017, and he’d help them clinch the East Division that year. He finished the campaign with 34 tackles and six sacks, earning him East All-Star honours as well as consideration for the league’s Most Outstanding Rookie award — that would eventually go to his teammate, running back James Wilder Jr. But the biggest prize came in November when the Argos were able to upset the Calgary Stampeders to win the 105th Grey Cup in Ottawa.
Following another successful campaign with the Boatmen in 2018, Wynn made the decision to jump to the newly formed Alliance of American Football and sign with the Arizona Hotshots, but after the league ceased operations, Wynn returned to Ontario. But instead of donning the double blue, he’d come back in black and yellow.
The 26-year-old is in the midst of a career season with the Tiger-Cats. The nine sacks have broken his previous career-high of six and he’s well on his way to breaking his high of 34 tackles — he already has 30 through 11 games.
He’s been on an absolute tear over the last five games, recording a sack in each outing, including three against the BC Lions in Week 10. During Mark’s Labour Day Weekend, Wynn had his second chance to get the best of his former team. He did just that, getting four tackles and a sack in the 38-27 victory.
Tempers did flare during the clash. A skirmish broke out in the first quarter that saw the Tabbies lose two of their defensive starters. With the fans firmly getting into every matchup, what is it that truly makes the rivalry what it is?
“The fans are huge but it’s not quite that. You hit somebody and they hit you back and it just escalates, and the next think you know — it doesn’t really take much to get a lot of us heated,” Wynn said. “We’re all super-aggressive players; Toronto’s an aggressive team and we’re an aggressive team. This team is one of the hardest-hitting that I’ve ever been on and we get after it.
“When you get between a rock and a hard place and it keeps escalating, it turned into a great Labour Day Classic.”
Wynn lined up opposite William Campbell, who used to be his roommate in Toronto, for the majority of the game. There were several players involved in this iteration of the annual game that had been on the other side of the rivalry, which just added to the fire.
“I know all those guys and I won a Grey Cup with them,” Wynn said. “We have a lot of guys that have come down the QEW to join us here and you don’t want to get shown up by old teammates. So it definitely adds a little pepper into your hits.”
With the victory, the Ticats opened a season 9-2 for the first time in 21 years. In 1998, the team finished with a 12-5-1 record but lost in the 86th Grey Cup to the Calgary Stampeders. While Hamilton looks like they’ve all but wrapped up the East Division crown, they’re not taking their foot off the gas.
“(The win) was positive but are feet are on the ground and we understand that we can’t keep putting ourselves into those situations and making these games close,” Wynn said. “We’ve just got to continue to tighten stuff up. This is the part of the season where everyone is making their dashes for their playoff berths. So we’re taking it week to week and just trying to tighten the screws.”
The Tabbies are now on a bye, but they’ll return to action in Week 14 when they travel to McMahon Stadium to face the Calgary Stampeders. That will kick off a stretch of four straight games against West opponents.