Eskimos LB J.C. Sherritt wins CFL's defnesive player of the year honours

Eskimos linebacker J.C. Sherritt wins the CFL`s Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award at Koerner...

Eskimos linebacker J.C. Sherritt wins the CFL`s Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award at Koerner Hall in Toronto, Ont., Nov. 22, 2012. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:07 PM ET

TORONTO - John Cody Sherritt won the award and the battle with his mom.

“My mom kind of wanted to go to the Grey Cup game itself but I told her I don’t want to go to the game. Not if I don’t have to,” said the player who, in two years, has already made his name in the CFL — as J.C. Sherritt.

Thursday night at Koerner Hall, Sherrit was named most outstanding defensive player at the Gibson’s Finest CFL Player Awards.

“I have a feeling of jealousy with the Calgary Stampeders and Toronto Argonauts. I don’t want to see somebody else playing in that game,” added the Edmonton Eskimos middle linebacker.

So he’s not going to the Roger’s Centre Sunday? Not even to watch his traded-away teammate Ricky Ray?

“I wish him well, but I don’t want to go to a Grey Cup game until I’m in it,” said Sherritt.

Kinda like not touching the Cup until you win it.

“In Edmonton, every day I walk in I see the Grey Cup banners and live the history. That’s forever. The one thing i’ve always been is about is championships.”

As expected Sherritt, who set a CFL record with 130 tackles this year, was a slam-dunk winner of the award, receiving 49 of the 57 votes cast to defeat Shae Emry of the Montreal Alouettes.

Sherritt said it was crazy going again Emry.

“We were friends when I was 18. I have his belt on tonight. I forgot to wear a belt. He loaned me his.

“He played at Eastern. No one knows that. When he moved to go to UBC they moved me from running back to linebacker to take his place. I told him if I win the award, it’s his fault.”

Sherritt is the 13th Eskimo winner of the most outstanding defensive player award but the first since Elfrid Payton in 2002. Willie Pless won it five times, Dan Kepley three times, Danny Bass, James Parker and Dave Fennell once each.

The Eskimos, who haven’t had a most outstanding player since Tracy Ham in 1989, have now had a winner here two years in a row. Jerome Messam was selected top Canadian last year.

Sherritt was mortified when he reached the interview room.

“I forgot to mention my teammates. They’re the most important people. They’re the ones it’s all about.”

He thanked head coach Kavis Reed.

“I wanted to make sure I talked about the type of man he is. Everybody say the same thing about Kavis. He’s a special individual. He’s the guy you want to win for.”

Considering recently fired GM Eric Tillman spent the last two years trying to take credit for finding Sherritt, he went out of his way to thank head coach Ed Hervey.

“He played a big part in getting me to Edmonton, that’s for sure.”

He also thanked the CFL.

“You can’t explain to people back home how great this league is.”

Sherritt narrowly defeated Adam Bighill of the B.C. Lions 52% to 35% in the four-player voting to win the trip here for himself and two guests.

“I invited my mom, Deb, and Greg Peach to share this with me,” said the 5-foot-9, 218-pound CFL prototype player who in two years has already made 202 tackles, recorded six sacks and five interceptions — three of those sacks and all five of the interceptions coming this year.

“It was going to be my mom and Matt,” said Sherritt of Eskimos quarterback Matt Nichols, who is recuperating from a gruesome injury in which his foot was turned in the opposite direction in the second half of the Argos-Eskimos playoff game.

Both Nichols and Peach are former Eastern Washington teammates of Sherritt. Peach was a teammate of the two in Edmonton last year but played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats this year.

Sherritt, last year, was runner-up to Chris Williams of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as most outstanding rookie.

“It made it easier this year,” he said of knowing the routine.

“And it really made me realize how big the Grey Cup is and how it makes the nation come together.

“We’re going to take everything in. When it comes to winning these awards, you never know if you’re going to get back again. And if I don’t, that’s OK. But I really want to get back and play in this game.”

And until he does, he’s not going.

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terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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