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March 21, 2019

YEAR IN REVIEW: DEREK DENNIS

CALGARY, AB - JUNE 16, 2018: The Calgary Stampeders won 28-14 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at McMahon Stadium on Saturday's Home Opener. (Photo by Angela Burger/Calgary Stampeders)

After a year away, he was back where he belonged.

Offensive lineman Derek Dennis returned to Calgary last off-season after being released by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Immediately, the 2017 Offensive Lineman of the Year was back in his familiar spot, anchoring one of the best lines in the CFL.

“It’s like when you leave home for the first time to go to college,’’ Dennis mused. “You find yourself away, in a different environment. You have to adjust to new and different ways.

“Then you get the chance to come home again, after realizing how much you missed it, how much you maybe took it for granted in some ways. You come back remembering who you are again and what you’re all about.

“That’s what this feels like for me.

“Like coming home again.”

Dennis started at left tackle for all 18 regular-season games as well as the Western Final and Grey Cup. He was part of an offensive line that was tied for the CFL lead in fewest sacks allowed with 27. Dennis was a West Division all-star and was the team’s nominee for Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman. Taking on the best pass rushers in the league play in and play out, Dennis was able to protect Bo Levi Mitchell’s blindside with incredible efficiency, allowing very little pressure and never being flagged for holding.

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Dennis showed of his determination and toughness all season as he played each and every game with an injury to his knee. During the season opener against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the 30-year old destroyed the bursar sack in his right knee, crystallizing pieces of it into extra bone.

“I put off the surgery until the end of the season to make sure I could get to the Grey Cup with these guys. And it was so, so worth it.

“You don’t get moments like this often your life. You miss something like this you’ll regret it the rest of your days.

Obviously, his decision to delay the operation paid off as he was able to help his team go to their third straight Grey Cup and bring home the hardware.

Check out some of our favourite Derek Dennis photos from this past season!