Kevin Glenn first joined the Saskatchewan Roughriders when he was 21, a spritely product of Illinois State who played his developmental years as a quarterback and immediately showed he should win a few Grey Cups during his pro career.
Sixteen seasons, 269 regular-season games, 48,829 passing yards and eight stops later, Glenn still hasn’t won that elusive championship.
Now he’s back with the Roughriders for his final chance at a Grey Cup, approaching the age of 38 with the likelihood of being the starting quarterback on a team that doesn’t yet looked poised to challenge for a CFL championship.
Glenn told reporters during a conference call Tuesday he intends to earn the starter’s job, but understands it will be an open competition through training camp. Glenn also said rejoining the Roughriders felt like coming home, considering he spent 2001-03 in Saskatchewan before being traded away and returning in 2015 as a free agent before being traded away again mid-season.
Although they have re-signed some important players such as defensive back Ed Gainey and defensive ends Jonathan Newsome and Willie Jefferson, the Roughriders remain in constant transition.
Since Chris Jones arrived 13 months ago as Saskatchewan’s vice-president of football operations, general manager, head coach and defensive co-ordinator, the Roughriders have assessed approximately 4,000 players, brought at least 250 through their locker room, dressed a CFL, single-season record of 100 while winning only five of 18 games, and recently traded away veteran quarterback Darian Durant, a pending free agent, without a proven pivot to replace him.
Glenn, a free agent since being waived by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers earlier this offseason, is actually a logical acquisition.
As Jones described him on the conference call, Glenn is a popular teammate who doesn’t cause problems and could help the Roughriders on the field or by serving as a mentor to the team’s younger, unproven quarterbacks: Brandon Bridge, Bryan Bennett, G.J. Kinne and Jake Waters.
The Roughriders covet Edmonton Eskimos backup James Franklin, who is signed through next season and is reportedly unwilling to accept a contract extension, evidently aware Saskatchewan’s starting job is being held for him.
Until then the Roughriders will attempt to be respectable by stabilizing their roster, fortifying their defence and — more importantly — finding Canadians and offensive linemen who can actually play in the CFL.
The most important position remains at quarterback. And by signing Glenn, the Roughriders at least have someone who has proven he can play in the CFL.