Three Blue make grade

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:41 PM ET

Despite their disastrous 2005 season, the post-season honours keep coming for elite members of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

One day after defensive end Gavin Walls won the CFL's most outstanding rookie award, three of his teammates were named league all-stars.

Slotback Milt Stegall, running back Charles Roberts and punter Jon Ryan were all honoured for their outstanding work this season.

Stegall scooped up his fifth all-star honour and his first since 2002, when he was also named the league's most outstanding player. The 35-year-old led the league with 17 touchdown catches and an impressive 22.8 yards per grab.

"I won't say it's not a big deal, because I think that'll be saying too much," Stegall said last night via cellphone from the Touchdown Manitoba party in Vancouver. "Everybody wants to be an all-star. Of course, everybody also wants to win the Grey Cup, but being an all-star says a lot."

Stegall, who officially announced this week that he'll be back for a 12th season with the Bombers, was asked if this award means that he still has several more years left in his finely tuned body.

"That's what people are going to be saying now, if I'm this age and I can still be an all-star," he said. "It says a lot about the people around me, too. I couldn't do it by myself."

The Turtle Man gave credit to everyone on offence and even his coaches, many or all of whom may not be back next season.

"I gotta give some credit to myself, too, because I do work hard," he said.

Roberts also picked up his fifth all-star nod, but it came in only his fifth CFL season. Roberts won his second rushing title with 1,624 yards, and he scored 12 touchdowns on the ground. Both were career highs.

Ryan, a sophomore CFLer, is an all-star for the first time. The Regina product broke Lui Passaglia's CFL record for punting average with a 50.6-yard mark, and he's going to test the NFL waters this season.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders led the league with six all-stars, while both the Montreal Alouettes and Toronto Argonauts had five. The B.C. Lions, Edmonton Eskimos and Ottawa Renegades had only one selection each.


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