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TORONTO – During the Gibson’s Finest Player Awards Show at Koerner Hall in the heart of the 100th Grey Cup Festival in downtown Toronto, Argonauts’ WR/KR Chad Owens was named the Canadian Football League’s Most Outstanding Player in 2012! In doing so, he becomes of the first Argo to win the award since Damon Allen (2005), the first Argos receiver ever to win the award, and the seventh time an Argonauts player has captured the honour.
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This award caps off arguably one of the single greatest seasons by any player in league history. The Flyin’ Hawaiian earned XX of a possible XX votes to win the award over West Division nominee, Jon Cornish of the Calgary Stampeders.
The facts are difficult to argue. Owens broke a 15-year old record held by the great Michael “Pinball” Clemons for combined yards in one season (3,840), became the first player in CFL history to lead the league in both receiving and kick return yards, and etched his name deeper into the record books by becoming the first player to ever record three seasons with at least 3,000 combined yards, a feat that he achieved consecutively.
Over the 18 game regular season, Owens was a constant threat on both special teams and on offence for the Double Blue. He averaged over 220 combined yards per game, and nearly doubled his single season career high in receiving yards (2011, 722; 2012, 1,328). His best game came during the final Labour Day Classic ever held at Ivor Wynne Stadium on September 3, 2012. He finished the game with 136 kickoff return yards, 90 punt return yards and 176 receiving yards with one touchdown. In total, he accumulated 402 combined yards in the game which was the third most in CFL history, and the most in Argonauts’ history. He earned CFL Player of the Week for his efforts.
In three seasons in Toronto, Owens has re-written the Argos’ 139-year old record books. As of the end of the 2012 CFL season, Owens sits second all-time in punt return yards, kickoff returns, and total kick return yards behind Clemons. He tops the Argos’ all-time list for most kickoff return yards in a season (1,750), kickoff return yards in a game (245), and total kick return yards in a season (2,701).
With the award, Owens finds himself in some elite Double Blue company. He joins the likes of RB Bill Symons (1968), QB Condredge Holloway (1982), RB Michael “Pinball” Clemons (1990), QB Doug Flutie (1996,1997) and QB Damon Allen (2005) as the only players in the Argos’ storied existence to be named as the league’s top player. This is the first time Owens has been nominate for this award but the third consecutive year he’s been an award nominee. In 2010, he was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player and in 2011 he was the East Division Most Outstanding Special Teams Player.
Owens has carried his magic into the 2012 post-season. In two games, he’s earned two CFL Player of the Week awards, set a new club record for receiving in a playoff game (11 catches for 207 yards), and scored his first return touchdown of the season.