Toronto Argonauts linebacker Henoc Muamba became the second player in CFL history to be named both Most Outstanding Player and Most Outstanding Canadian in the Grey Cup.
The Argonauts earned a 24-23 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 109th Grey Cup in Regina on Sunday.
“We knew the odds were stacked against us and what people were saying,” Muamba told Sportsnet’s Arash Madani after the game. “What’s in that locker room a lot of stuff that’s in the locker room, the guys that are in there, the belief that we have. We got men of character in that locker room. Through adversity, we stuck through kept fighting and here we are forever.”
Muamba finished the game with three tackles and a crucial interception late in the fourth quarter off Blue Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros.
“Still trying to figure out if this is real life,” Muamba said during a post-game press conference flanked by his four-year-old daughter Thea and both trophies.
Earlier in the game, Muamba dropped an interception which eventually led to a touchdown for Winnipeg but knew he had to just find a way to move past it.
“I dropped the first pick and everyone came to me and said ‘Henoc next play, don’t quit. You’re going to have another opportunity,'” Muamba explained. “I preach mental toughness at all the time whether at schools and churches, have gone to prisons, I do it corporately as well. Today I had to walk the walk and let that previous play go and make the play when it came to me again.”
He joins teammate Andrew Harris as the only players to earn both honours in the Grey Cup. Harris won Most Outstanding Player and Most Outstanding Canadian back in 2019 when he helped Winnipeg win the 107th Grey Cup.
This was only Muamba’s second Grey Cup appearance in 11 years in the CFL after he reached the championship game as a rookie in 2011 with the Blue Bombers.
“In 2011 I got drafted and went to the Grey Cup in B.C., I remember it like it was yesterday,” Muamba said. “I started to get comfortable with the CFL and the pro level and I told myself that I would be back every year and I can get used to this. I’ve got some guys in the locker room that completely believe in me, and encouraged me. They responded so well to challenges.
“I have a supportive family. My wife from the beginning of my career, she’s always been behind me pushing me, supporting me, and just allowing me to be me. This is not just me. So many people have played such a huge role in this and I trade anything for this moment right here.”
The 33-year-old is a two-time CFL All-Star, was named the Most Outstanding Canadian in 2017 and was the Presidents’ Trophy recipient back in 2010 as the most outstanding defensive player in U Sports.
The Mississauga, Ont., joined the Argonauts as a free agent in 2021 leading his hometown team to playoff appearances in back-to-back seasons and first place in the CFL’s East division in both seasons.
–With files from the Canadian Press