Stampeders running back Messam named top Canadian at Grey Cup despite loss to Argos
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OTTAWA — Jerome Messam wasn't necessarily at a loss for words after being named most valuable Canadian at the 105th Grey Cup, he just didn't want to share any of them.
Shortly after the Calgary Stampeders dropped a 27-24 Sunday decision to the Toronto Argonauts on a last minute 32-yard field goal by Lirim Hajrullahu, Messam refused several requests for interviews and quickly vacated the Stampeders' locker room for the team bus without saying a word to the media.
It was the second straight year the Stampeders came in to a Grey Cup as heavy favourites after a dominating regular season only to lose the title game. Last season they fell 39-33 in overtime to the Ottawa Redblacks at BMO Field in Toronto.
It is the first time since 2014 that a player on a losing team was named top Canadian in the championship game. Andy Fantuz won the award that year despite his Hamilton Tiger-Cats 20-16 loss to the Stampeders.
In the first quarter Messam, a Brampton, Ont., native, caught a six-yard touchdown pass from Bo Levi Mitchell for his only reception Sunday, but he also had 13 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown in the game.
During the regular season Messam eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards for the third time in his career as he ran the ball for 1,016 yards. He also set a career high with nine touchdowns and added another 183 yards on 33 receptions.
Messam was the most outstanding Canadian for the 2016 regular season when he played all 18 regular season games for the first time in his career and rushed for a career-high 1,198 yards.
But at 32 years old, Messam is running out of chances to earn a Grey Cup ring. It's clearly a box he wants to tick.
"I've been grinding hard for it," Messam said earlier this week before the Stampeders left for Ottawa. "I'm blessed to have the opportunity to play in the Grey Cup again. Some people never make it there.
"Second year in a row, so I just want to finish the deal man and be able to put that stamp on my career."
After another shocking Stampeders loss when it counted, the deal remains unfinished.