January 23, 2018

Teammates valued Cote

Jon Cornish and Rob Cote on Sept. 9, 2011 (Photo by David Moll)

Value, Jon Cornish came to appreciate, can be measured in many forms.

“When I started playing with Rob Cote,’’ admits the quicksilver tailback, “I didn’t understand those types of aspects.

“One of the reasons he did so well during his career is because he was such a selfless gentleman. He wasn’t playing for individual glory. He wasn’t playing for him. He was playing for the glory of the team. He was playing for us.

“He’s one of the, if not the, best teammates I ever played alongside.

“I may have won MOP and Canada’s Top Athlete but Rob won two Presidents’ Rings (combining excellence on the football field with leadership, inspiration and motivational skills, in 2013 and 2015).

“On that ring it says: Most Valuable Player. For a reason.

“When we won the Grey Cup in 2014, he was a big factor. He was part of the reason we were always successful, because we knew we had a guy who was gonna come in, lead through his selfless attitude and tireless hard work.

“Retiring from the Stampeders, he’s going to leave a large void.”

Photo by David Moll

Cornish and Cote both arrived at McMahon Stadium in 2007. From the time Cornish assumed the lead tailback job from Joffrey Reynolds in 2012 until he retired four years later, Cote led the way upfield, a tremendous, underrated component in seasons of 1,457, 1,813 and 1,082 yards for the superb No. 9.

“Any time you have a primary blocker position, you tend to get overlooked by non-football people,’’ says Cornish, an investment counsellor for TD Bank since retiring. “But Rob Cote had one of the best pairs of hands on the football team. He was very, very underrated in that area. Bo (Levi Mitchell), (Jerome) Messam, anybody who played with Rob will tell you that.

“I feel he could’ve put up many more touchdowns but he was asked to do much blocking, so much of the work that’s so under-appreciated but so important. And he did it without complaint.

“This guy has won Canadian football’s highest award, the Grey Cup. He’s won MVP of the team multiple times. You reach a point where you’re just good. Rob’s been there for some time.

“He has rings for four fingers. The respect of everyone he played with. That’s something most players can only dream of.

“Great person, great football player, great career.”