Bombers' Willie Jefferson named CFL's outstanding defensive player

CALGARY — Defensive end Willie Jefferson of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is the CFL's top defensive player.

The six-foot-seven, 245-pound Jefferson captured the honour Thursday night at the CFL awards banquet in voting conducted by the Football Reporters of Canada and nine league coaches.

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Jefferson, 28, had a career-high 12 sacks in his first season with Winnipeg. He also had a league-record 16 pass knockdowns to go with 24 tackles, an interception, six forced fumbles and two recoveries.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats linebacker Simoni Lawrence was a finalist for the honour. The eight-year veteran led the CFL with a career-high 98 tackles with three interceptions, four sacks and seven pass knockdowns.

The native of Upper Darby, Pa., led all players with 117 defensive plays and anchored a Hamilton defence that posted league-bests in fewest offensive points (17.9 per game) and fewest touchdowns (33) allowed.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 21, 2019.

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