From quarterback to receiver, Brad Sinopoli continues to turn heads in the CFL.
Sinopoli had a career season in his fourth campaign in the league and first with the Ottawa REDBLACKS, finishing with a career-high 86 receptions -- good enough to tie for fifth in the league. He converted those receptions for a new career benchmark of 1,035 yards.
He's a long way from where he was just a few years ago, sitting at home in Newfoundland wondering if he'd ever play another down of football after being released as a quarterback.
"No, never, to be honest with you," said Sinopoli, asked whether he had ever imagined a moment like this. "At that time I never thought I'd ever play another down of football in my life.
"But that's just the situation I was in and I'm extremely lucky to be back in the league and I'm lucky to be on the team with the opportunity I've been given. I'm always going to be grateful for that."
The former University of Ottawa Gee-Gee led all Canadians in receiving yards. Sinopoli is the first Ottawa player to win the award since Tony Gabriel won it four times in a row, ending in 1978. The Peterborough, Ont. native also becomes the first receiver to win the award since Andy Fantuz in 2010.
Sinopoli was one of four REDBLACKS receivers to eclipse the 1,000 yard barrier. He led all national players in receptions and receiving yards and finished the year with three touchdown receptions.
Most importantly, he led a team that went from winning two games to taking the East Division crown and now appearing in the Grey Cup Championship.
"It's a tremendous honour," he said. "It's hard to sit up there and be singled out with the team that we have. I'm happy to be part of this league and to be in this position today."
And of course, Sunday's Grey Cup against Edmonton is what matters most for the former Stampeder. Sinopoli won a Grey Cup a year ago with the Stamps and has a chance to make it two in a row, now with Ottawa.
"I don't think those two compare," said Sinopoli, asked to comapre winning the award with the feeling of winning a Grey Cup. "Sunday's what we're all coming to work for every game.
"From day one that's our ultimate goal as a team," he added. "It's amazing, when you win a Grey Cup, the feeling that you have – it's hard to put into words."
Sinopoli tallied 47 first place votes. Bombers rush end Jamaal Westerman was the runner up in just his first CFL season after placing second in the CFL in sacks.