Gotta love the CFL.
Ty Long went from unheralded newcomer who had no chance to make the roster, thanks to Swayze Waters, to double award nominee for the BC Lions.
Now granted, on a 7-10 team you might suggest there weren’t many options, but Long was a deserving nominee as both top rookie and special teams player for the Lions in balloting announced Wednesday by the local chapter of the Football Reporters of Canada.
B.C.’s special teams unit, in a word, was putrid, even forgetting the numbers put up by Chris Rainey, who was busy only because the Lions were so often receiving opponent kickoffs after giving up touchdowns.
Long made a case for all-star consideration with his league-leading 47.9-yard punt average, and his 88.6 per-cent mark on field goals is 20 points higher than the guy he replaced last year, Richie Leone.
Top rookie? You could tip your cap to another unheralded player on special teams, seventh-round pick Jordan Herdman, but the list is still pretty thin.
Nobody got shafted on the Lions with this year’s picks, which perhaps explains why Long wasn’t the only double nominee. Solomon Elimimian has reached a point where he is only competing against himself as he tries to measure his legacy. Elimimian was named the Lions’ most outstanding player nominee, along with top defensive player for the third time in four seasons.
Elimimian needs 10 tackles from the Lions’ finale against Toronto to tie his own season high for defensive stops in a season. He had 143 in 2014 and became the league’s most outstanding trophy winner as a defender for the first time, and reckons a repeat would warrant consideration for the same two titles again.
Shaquille Johnson (top Canadian), who had more receiving yards than Chris Williams, Nick Moore and Marco Iannuzzi, and Cody Husband (offensive line) are the Lions other nominees.