It's ironman again!

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

Kelly Wiltshire's impressive ironman streak is gone, but another remarkable string is still going.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Edmonton Eskimo safety is a team nominee in the outstanding Canadian category for the CFL awards.

"It is outrageous," said linebacker A.J. Gass of the accomplishment. "It really shows his work ethic. He comes to work year in and year out and makes an impact. He is very, very smart. He is very intense and aggressive on the field. And likes to fire around and make plays."

Before being the Eskimo nominee this year, Wiltshire received the honour the previous three seasons in Ottawa.

The 33-year-old Quebec native still calls himself an original Renegade, as he was with the team for the first three years after entering the league through expansion.

But when the Renegades' ownership group didn't immediately re-sign head coach Joe Paopao last fall, Wiltshire's mind started to wander toward the idea of joining the Eskimos through free agency.

"It made me think," said Wiltshire.

"They have so many good players and I knew they were going to be in the playoffs.

"When you went to sleep at night, it was like, 'Wow, I'd like to be there. I haven't been in the playoffs in three years.' "

Within hours of free agency this winter, Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia expressed his desire to bring Wiltshire west - and it didn't take long for the deal to get done.

And it has proven to be a very good relationship.

Nobody on the team has more interceptions than Wiltshire this season.

The nine-year CFL veteran is second in pass knockdowns on the club and second in the secondary in tackles.

The only downside this season is the fact his 157 consecutive regular-season games played streak ended in September due to injury.

He only missed the trip to Hamilton, but the defence was crushed that night, as the Tiger-Cats scored 40 points.

Obviously, that was not a laughing matter. But when Wiltshire is around, laughter isn't far away.

"He'll line up at the free safety position and he'll say: 'Listen up, play the run and play the pass,' " said Maciocia. "It's like, is there a third option?"

Wiltshire is also known to switch languages and jokingly talk trash in French with his teammates.

But - on the serious side - he faces long odds of winning the CFL most outstanding Canadian award later this month. Although he has been nominated four straight years and five times in the last eight years, he has never won. In fact, he has never been named a divisional nominee.

This year Wiltshire is in tough company.

Lion DE Brent Johnson (tied for the league lead in sacks), all-star Winnipeg punter Jon Ryan and solid tackles Scott Schultz and Sheldon Napastuk are in the running in the West.

Kevin Eiben, the league's leading tackler, headlines the list in the East Division.

LATE HITS: After a successful knee operation last week, special teams phenom Mike Bradley is hoping to begin rehab later this week before traveling to Calgary to watch Sunday's tilt.


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