As Calgary Stampeders left tackle Ben Archibald can attest, it’s not always a bad thing to go unnoticed.
Such is life along the offensive line.
“You rarely get the recognition, but that’s fine. We embrace that role,” Archibald said. “In the Winnipeg game, I ran into (Stamps quarterback) Drew Tate and knocked him down, and my wife said I got the yellow arrow on me on TSN. For stuff like that, you don’t want to be noticed, or for getting blown up back to the quarterback or anything like that. I can appreciate that. It’s good and bad.”
Archibald was recognized for all the right reasons Thursday morning, when he was named the West Division nominee for the CFL’s Most Outstanding Lineman award for a second straight season.
After finishing as runner-up for the league-wide award last fall, he’ll get another shot against Hamilton Tiger-Cats centre Marwan Hage.
Archibald will be joined at the annual awards gala by Stamps quarterback Henry Burris, who’s nominated for the Most Outstanding Player nod, and linebacker Juwan Simpson, a candidate for the Most Outstanding Defensive Player honours.
Burris is up against Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo, while Hamilton Tiger-Cats linebacker Markeith Knowlton is the last man standing between Simpson and his first league award.
Saskatchewan’s Andy Fantuz and Hamilton’s Dave Stala will go toe-to-toe for the distinction of top Canadian, while B.C.’s Yonus Davis and Toronto’s Chad Owens are the special-teams nominees, and Tiger-Cats returner Marcus Thigpen and Lions linebacker Solomon Elimimian are finalists for rookie of the year.
The winners will be revealed Nov. 25 — three days before the Grey Cup — at a ceremony in Edmonton.
One of the feel-good stories of the awards gala will undoubtedly be Simpson, who was a force to be reckoned with as Calgary’s starting linebacker this season after spending the bulk of the two previous campaigns as a backup defensive lineman and practice-roster player.
Simpson, 26, led the Stamps with 71 defensive tackles in the regular season and was tied for the team lead with seven sacks. He also had four pass knockdowns, three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one interception.
“I’m confident in my abilities, and the type of league that this is — with the big field, and you run around a lot and makes play — I felt like I could do a good job in this league,” Simpson said.
The Stamps emerged from their four-day break as a healthy bunch. RB Jon Cornish (concussion), DB Milt Collins (shoulder) and
OL Edwin Harrison (elbow) all participated in Thursday’s drills. The bad news is
DL Migeul Robede (concussion) has “regressed” and was held out of practice due to headaches.