Anwar Stewart said that 2012 has been a great year for him, something many wouldn't have predicted back in February, when he was cut by the Montreal Alouettes midway through the off-season.
"This has been a great year for me," said Stewart, now a member of the Calgary Stampeders, heading up to the 100th Grey Cup. "I started out getting cut a day before my birthday, and then I got married in May, and we had a little girl. Now I'm here, life is good! I can't explain it."
"At the end of the day, all I can do is thank the organization for giving me the opportunity to come here and be able to have a shot to achieve my goal."
That goal would be winning his fifth Grey Cup. Stewart joined the Stamps in early October, and has since been an important part of the team's run to the Grey Cup, recording nine tackles and four sacks in four regular season games, and three tackles in the postseason.
Stewart said he was confident he'd return to the CFL, the league he's spent the past 12 years of his life in, but admitted he didn't think he'd have to wait as long as he did.
"I thought I would have been here a lot earlier because there were a lot of guys going down (to injury). Teams were in need of pass rushes and they weren't getting it. But timing is everything and you have to be patient."
Patience is surely a hard skill to adopt for a man that makes his living rushing the passer.
"You can't always rush everything. I was very patient; everybody in Montreal would ask 'Have you heard anything?' I appreciate everybody being concerned for me but I'll let you guys know."
"I let them know and came in that first week in Winnipeg and dominated and we haven't looked back since."
Stewart is happy now and said he holds no grudges. He said he'll use this week to catch up with some former players and coaches from his days in Montreal, some of whom are now members of the Toronto Argonauts.
"I'm great friends with Scott (Milanovich); I texted him congratulations. I have quite a few friends over there and I'm really excited for them as well."
Stewart is a Grey Cup veteran, having played in seven with the Alouettes and one with the Stamps early in his career. Now, back with the Stamps for a second go-around, he said the process remains the same.
"No, my focus didn't change. The guys in their first time here, you have to really let them know what to expect, what not to expect, your dos and your don'ts, being an older guy. But no, your focus stays the same because at the end of the day, your goal remains the same: winning."
Stewart knows that as a veteran, his job is setting an example for the younger players along with everything he does on the field. And having some familiarity with the opponent, Stewart will be leaned on for some advanced scouting as well.
"I'll always tell them how we did it in Montreal because it's the same offence and same system. We'll go from there."
Stewart and the Stampeders take on the Argonauts in the 100th Grey Cup on Sunday. Coverage begins on TSN at 1pm et/10am pt.