Riders Marcus Thigpen goes from the couch to within a win of the Grey Cup

OTTAWA – Former NFL running back Marcus Thigpen was sitting on his couch this summer when he came across an Instagram post celebrating a passing milestone of ex-CFL teammate Kevin Glenn. Thigpen had been out of football for more than two years but he sent a simple message to his former quarterback: I want to come back.

Six weeks later, they were both members of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and on Sunday the duo sparked the Riders to a convincing 31-20 win over the Ottawa Redblacks in the CFL Eastern Semi-Final and are now just a win away from playing in the Grey Cup. They’ll face the Toronto Argonauts at BMO Field next Sunday.

“They’re happy tears,” said a jubilant Thigpen after the game. “To be in the position I am right now, to come back from being at home for two years and to have the success I’m having, it’s a blessing.”

Thigpen ran for 169 yards on 15 carries including a 75-yard touchdown sprint early in the third quarter that broke open what had been a mostly freewheeling affair. Glenn threw for a tidy 252 yards on 18-of-28 passing and a touchdown with zero interceptions.

The game was a track meet in the early going, with the teams combining for the fastest three touchdowns in a playoff game and posting majors on the opening three possessions for the first time in CFL post-season history.

But it was the Redblacks who would eventually falter. They committed four turnovers, including two within range of the Saskatchewan end zone. There were several dropped passes and the team was hampered by a first-half knee injury to leading receiver Greg Ellingson. He played on it but was clearly hurting.

“We never found a way to make key plays in the big moments of the game,” said Redblacks coach Rick Campbell. “Just didn’t get it done.”

Ottawa quarterback Trevor Harris had a gaudy stat line – 37 of 60 for 457 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions – but wasn’t impressive in his first career playoff start. The former Argonaut is set to be a free agent in February and this performance won’t do much to silence the doubters.

“I know he’d say he’d want to play better,” Campbell said of his quarterback. “Our whole football team needed to play a little bit better.”

The Redblacks are the defending Grey Cup champions and Ottawa will host this year’s title game and accompanying week-long party. The CFL hasn’t seen a team win back-to-back titles since the Montreal Alouettes in 2009 and 2010, led by current Argonauts head coach Marc Trestman.

“To come up short in the semifinal, it’s heartbreaking,” said Ottawa centre Jon Gott. “I feel bad for my teammates, I feel bad for the fans. I thought we were going to go further than this.”

The Riders are also trying to make a little history. Their 10-8 record in the dominant West Division was good enough to earn them a playoff spot in the weaker East but no crossover team has ever made it to the Grey Cup, never mind won it.

“The impossible,” Glenn said about his team’s motivation. “For something that has never been done in this league, for us to be on the verge of doing that is exciting.”

The Riders won both games between the two teams during the regular season, defeating Toronto 38-27 in Regina in late July, then winning at BMO in October on a last-minute field goal.

Of course, Thigpen wasn’t on the roster for either one of those contests.

After three seasons as Glenn’s teammate with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats starting in 2009, Thigpen played 50 games for four NFL teams, including the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills. He was used primarily as a return man, scoring four touchdowns during his career but decided to call it quits after his release by Buffalo in 2015, despite being just 29.

“I feel like I stopped playing too early and I felt like I still had a lot left in the tank,” Thigpen said. “That’s one of the main reasons why I missed it, just being in the locker room and the jokes we have. It’s amazing being back.”

Glenn has never won a Grey Cup championship in his 17 year CFL career – he’s now 4-8 in 12 career playoff starts – and Thigpen says that’s something the entire locker room is aware of.

“It’s motivating not only me but it’s motivating us as a team. I told him that I want to win a Grey Cup for him. I’ve never won a championship in football in my life and I want it as bad as he does,” Thigpen said. “That’s one of our motivations, to get him a Grey Cup. He deserves it.”

Maybe they can celebrate on Instagram.

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1551 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

52 Comments on Riders Marcus Thigpen goes from the couch to within a win of the Grey Cup

  1. Ticat Mike // November 12, 2017 at 7:45 pm //

    He was a hell of player in Hamilton. They couldnt get him back? ugh

    • Exactly,Thigpen is ideal for the June Jones offense.There must be a communication breakdown in the Tiger-Cat organization.

    • Yes he was. Said he’d come back to the TC’s if things didn’t work out with the NFL but I guess things change. Too bad.

  2. Ok ok. Yes Thigpen was good but we don’t need to spend the next week hearing about him being the 2nd coming of Mike Pringle. I’m tired of this rider a week media swoon.

    • Don’t worry, it will only go on for a few more weeks after we win the Grey Cup.

      • I’m hearing a lot of confidence..that leads to bigger scrutiny if you fall short you know

        • lol this coming from a dickhead that has been yapping about how the whimpeders are the greatest team ever in the history of football period !!!! Maybe you buffoon stampder fans would actually get some respect if you just shut your mouths and let other fan bases enjoy their teams successes. But your leadership like flufnagle and Igotdickedinmybutterson fosters that kind of arrogant crap. just like both as were players , they fold like cheap seats when the pressure is realy realy on.

      • Fern that was an awesome post , I almost fell off my chair chuckling , 10 out of 10 for style and whit!!!
        And the Stampeder whining begins again !!!! I have the feeling all these mouthpiece stamps fans heads will explode if at this time next week we are talking about a Edmonton ////Riders Grey Cup, that would be AWESOME !!!!

        • But you guys can’t have it both ways.. you love these complimentary stories but 1 about a fight at practice suddenly you don’t want it…you can have them both or you can have none…

          • Shut your freaking jealous mouth you jackass !!!! go find a article about the stampeders if YOU can , as no one cares one shit about them !!!!! ergo nothing is written!!!!! Probably there are ton of articles about how to be a MAJOR choke artist , regarding the Stampeders
            PS” anytime someone wants the definition of what a Stampeder is , they just look under the context of choke artist , artist ,lol
            what at eyou gonna do when Edmonton pounds you guys by about 20 points next sunday !!!! I am sure some excuse will come up.

        • What are we whining about? We didn’t even play

    • Ibleedgreen1111 // November 12, 2017 at 8:52 pm //

      I’m hoping for a Rider vs Stamp Grey Cup. Just to see Bo throw a Td to Duron again for the win. But we know that won’t happen since the Stamps will choke next week. They’re shooting to improve on the record 3 losses in a row to 4.

      Go Riders!
      Go CFL!!

    • Lancaster/Reed // November 12, 2017 at 9:25 pm //

      Donkey, whats really funny is you laughed when the riders brought thigpen in, wondering why jones would sign an old washup. Just shows jones is WAYYYYYY smarter than you.

      • Well yeah! I hope Jones is smarter than me they are paying him 3/4 of a million annual. No one questions Thigpens potential what we question is Sask IR list and payroll!

        • And the inability for your huge scouting network to actually find a young unknown talent

          • Lancaster/Reed // November 13, 2017 at 12:04 am //

            And yet you criticize his every move, like somehow you know better than jones. Successful teams have a mix of older veterans and younger , up and coming players.
            Riders have some solid veterans and here are some young talent brought in the last 2 years.
            Tobi antigha – 1st yr DL 5 sacks 30 tackles
            Elie Bouka – you criticized his signing saying the riders need canadian depth players not stars. Dumbest comment ever?
            Sam Eguavoen – big INT today 2nd year LB. 57 tackles
            Crezdon Butler – 1st yr DB – very good cover guy
            Makana Henry 2nd yr DL 26 tackles 1 sack
            Caleb Holly – 2nd year WR – 95 catches past 2yrs
            Christion Jones – 1st yr RB and a top returner this yr 2 td returns
            Derrick Moncrief – 1st yr LB big fumble strip today
            Kacey Rogers -2nd yr DB – turning into a very good cover guy
            Nick James – 1st yr DL – quickly was becoming a great DT until getting hurt. He has been missed ever since.
            Erick Dargan – 1st yr DB – solid db until getting hurt still on 6 game
            Jones is also good at getting other teams castoffs to up their game
            Gainey, AC Leonard, Brandon Bridge, Bakari Grant, Cameron Marshall,.
            Donkey, you really are a know nothing.

      • Wow..thank you for the lesson Lancaster. I guess you be been right all along. Can I just focus on my team this week please?

        • Lancaster/Reed // November 13, 2017 at 12:31 am //

          I dont know? Can you? You havent been able to all season. Whats your comment ratio? 10 rider comments for every 1 stamp comment? 15-1? 20-1? Even when you comment on other teams stories, you bring the riders into it.
          Do us all a favour, and actually concentrate on the stamps this week. Leave rider articles alone.

    • Lancaster/Ree // November 12, 2017 at 9:39 pm //

      Donkey, its amazing that you still dont get it. You, yourself , are partly responsible for all the rider articles on 3down. Because of your rider obsession, commenting/trolling numerous times on every rider story, you just help drive up clicks, which is what 3down uses to decide whose teams to feature with more stories. If you commented more on stamps stories than rider stories, there would probably be more stamp stories.

      • Wow I’m flattered you think so highly of me. I hardly doubt I drive the journalistic purpose of this site

        • Lancaster/Reed // November 12, 2017 at 11:25 pm //

          Iits not a hard concept donkey. You comment more than anyone on here, nearly always on rider articles. Why wouldnt 3down give you more of what you want.? Its making them money.

      • Donkey is angry because when he looked for a Stamps story tonight through the 3down menu/ find your team/ the west/ stamps, the very first article is about the Riders!

        Come on Donk, drink the green Kool Aid. Quit fighting it you know wanna….!

        • Why are you all going after me tonight? My team didn’t play. I congratulated the riders on the first post game article if you’d bother to look.

        • I think you guys are all drunk tonight.Why would I look for stamps articles tonight? We didn’t play why would there even be an article.?

          • Lancaster/Reed // November 13, 2017 at 12:07 am //

            Toronto didnt play this weekend, yet there were at least 3-4 argo articles. Zero stamp articles.

    • Ernie Eisenstein IV // November 13, 2017 at 3:36 am //

      Of course your tired of it. It has to do with the green and white! What the hell are you going to do when the Mighty Eskimos roll into Derelict McMahon and destroy the red team and SK makes it past the Argos. It’s goung to be a whole week of hell for you!
      Just curious as to which name you will be using then. Red Horse in white? Bread Donkey in flight? Next year when another team takes the lead in the regular season. Will your name change again?

    • You’ll be hearing more about him next Sunday. Watched him play with the TC’s 2010-2011 and he is a difference maker. Just the tonic to kick some arrogant Stumpy ass. And no, I’m not a Rider fan.

    • Ridersnhabs // November 13, 2017 at 10:12 am //

      Well since the stamps have dropped their last 3 and about to make it 4 there isn’t much for the media to swoon over there . But no worries in a week you will have plenty to read about when the excuses come pilling in

  3. Nice one.

  4. He was great in 2012 and he’s still great in 2017. Special player and a special athlete

    • Lancaster/Reed // November 12, 2017 at 9:15 pm //

      I cant believe how fast he still is, and after so much time away from the game as well. The way he pulled away from the ottawa players on his 75 yard run , even anyone who had an angle on him. Impressive.

  5. I know, I couldn’t believe the breakaway speed.

  6. RJ Johnson Jr // November 13, 2017 at 12:49 am //

    Donkey left. I guess he’s been demoted to the midnight shift at McDonalds.

    • Johnson Jr…instead of now running and hiding behind your computer why not tell us all what your problem is with someone working the midnight shift at McDonald’s??? ??? ???

  7. Ernie Eisenstein IV // November 13, 2017 at 3:47 am //

    If you don’t mind Johnson Jr. Please allow me to take this one from the off spring of a donkey and a horse. Nothing is wrong with a person trying to make a living Donkey. Working McDonalds on the night shift is just fine. If that’s your speed. No one here holds a grudge to a man trying to make a living or feed his family.
    Just remember your hypocritical comment here and now the next time you try to bash the Riders for trying to give a player a second shot at feeding his family. As I said, different speed for different folks. Anyone that spends the amount of time on here to post just about 1st in every Rider post is certainly an underachiever in the real world. Trying to look like an over achiever on here.
    What are you going to do if EDM or SK take over top spot next year in the league. Are you going to change your name again to Eloquent Emperor or EnormousEgghead?

    • Lol enjoy the east final Ernie or Johnson.. or whoever else you are

    • Lancaster/Reed // November 13, 2017 at 11:05 am //

      Ernie, you just might be my favourite Esks fan. The way the esks are playing, they should be considered the grey cup favourites fight now. Reilly is clearly the best qb in the league, and he has the best receiving corp to throw to. The only way to beat edmonton is to get to reilly. Calgary can do it, but can they do it enough?

      • Edmonton is a huge concern. This game will be won in the trenches as always. Calgary must run and Reilly must harassed and sacked. LAST TIME these 2 played in Calgary we did pretty well. And people forget the last half of football Bo played was against Edmonton and he played near perfect.

  8. Where were Tillman and Austin during this couch period of Thigpen’s? Suffering from head-up-ass-itis? – or is this another guy that Austin decided he didn’t want? Some team builder.

  9. Congratulations to ex-Tiger Cats that helped make this win possible…you SUCK Austin!

    • Hey Abacus? Where are you on this one? Owens, Grant and Gainey kicked some seriously ass, eh? And Austin still sucks.

  10. Perhaps some of the ardent fans can temper the tone of discourse. Why does it have to devolve to name-calling and worse? Here I thought that those who embrace the league were special. Friendly to-and-fro banter is obviously fine, but surely we should know when to rein in comments. ‘Keep it classy’, fans.

  11. “Get that camera out of my face” is what donkey will be saying when the Esks roll the shyte Stamps

    • Yes yes good….I like the narrative going around this morning. Edmonton is the big favorite. Calgary has no chance

  12. Ridersnhabs // November 13, 2017 at 10:18 am //

    I just watched an interview with the man and he is class all the way . Happy to have him here .

  13. Marcus was great in Hamilton. Wished he had stayed.

    Good luck to him.

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