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DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

John Grace's price just went up.

The Stampeders linebacker, a free agent Feb. 15, has earned the CFL West Division nomination as outstanding defensive player along with a West all-star selection.

Sure-handed Stamps receiver Nik Lewis will also represent the West in the top rookie category. Both have a good chance of coming home with the hardware Nov. 18 in Ottawa.

Grace earned defensive-player-of-the-week honours four times this season, while twice receiving the nod as defensive player of the month. He recorded three interceptions -- two for touchdowns -- while posting a team-leading seven sacks. He was a key component of a revamped 3-4 defence that drew accolades across the CFL.

"It's great to be nominated among the best of the best," said Grace, whose East Division opponent is defensive lineman Anwar Stewart. "It's a great feeling.

"It's a defence we excelled at in our learning phase. A lot of people don't give us, I don't want to say respect but it's a defence that we just learned. I don't think anybody on our defence ever played in a 3-4 defence before this season."

Lewis caught 72 passes for 1,045 yards, including eight TDs, while also serving as a punt returner on special teams, collecting 385 yards. He'll face East rookie defensive back Almondo Curry.

Lewis' season placed him among an elite group of former Stamps receivers to eclipse 1,000 yards in a rookie campaign -- Terry Evanshen, Terry Vaughn, Allen Pitts and Marc Boerigter.

"I feel really good to be representing the West," Lewis said from his home in Texas.

"It's starting to sink in, now that I'm back home, just what a good season I had. It's a very satisfying feeling. I'm very proud."

Stamps defensive co-ordinator Denny Creehan said Grace would be a deserving recipient after an outstanding season.

"I sure hope he wins that award," Creehan said. "I haven't seen anybody who plays like he does, at least not in this division, anyway.

"He played hurt most of the year.

"I'd love to see what the guy could do if he played the whole season at 100 percent," he added. "He'd just be tearing it up."

Stamps OL Jay McNeil and Seth Dittman, along with defensive back Joey Boese, were also named to the CFL West all-star squad.

YOUNG SIGNED: The Stampeders re-signed DL Antwone Young yesterday to a two-year deal plus an option.


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