Wolitarsky elated to see former college, Bombers teammate Chris Streveler make Cardinals roster

Photo courtesy: CFL

Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ receiver Drew Wolitarsky is over the moon that his friend and former teammate Chris Streveler has made the Arizona Cardinals for a second straight year.

“He’s just a great dude and he taught me so much about work ethic and drive,” said Wolitarsky via videoconference. “He has some of the craziest work ethic I’ve ever seen and to have that in a friend of yours is really cool. He’s such a down-to-earth guy and he’s a little crazy, but I think we all need that. It was cool to see how far you gotta push sometimes to get what you want in life.”

Streveler was the primary backup to Kyler Murray in 2020 and took snaps in five games, completing 11-of-16 pass attempts for 105 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He has made the team’s roster again for the 2021 season, albeit as the third-stringer behind Murray and journeyman Colt McCoy.

“Honestly, we don’t chat too much about football — we talk about pretty much everything else,” said Wolitarsky. “We’ve been doing this forever and we know the drill. I sent him a text after he threw that touchdown pass and when he made the roster — big stuff like that — but we live this every day, so we want to talk about other stuff: hobbies, what kind of music you’ve been making, how your animals are doing. Stuff like that.”

The pair first became teammates in 2013 when they committed to the University of Minnesota. Wolitarsky saw the field right away, catching 15 passes for 259 yards and a touchdown as a freshman, while Streveler played sparingly. They became roommates and even played the same position in 2015 when Streveler was converted to receiver.

They parted ways in 2016 when Streveler transferred to South Dakota. The passer spent two seasons with the Coyotes, accounting for 74 touchdowns (54 passing, 20 rushing) before signing with Winnipeg after going unselected in the 2018 NFL Draft. Wolitarsky had already joined the Blue Bombers midway through the previous season after he was selected in the CFL’s supplemental draft.

The rest, as they say, is history. Wolitarsky and Streveler became teammates again at the professional level — and roommates, too — and were key contributors in a postseason run that culminated in a Grey Cup title in November 2019.

Wolitarsky made one of the catches of the year in Sunday’s victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders, hauling in a 28-yard floater from Zach Collaros. Head coach Mike O’Shea was complimentary of the reception, though he spoke even more glowingly about Wolitarsky’s leadership in the clubhouse.

“I was so pleased for [Wolitarsky],” said O’Shea. “He’s put in so much work off the field with him teammates to make sure that everybody’s on-point. He’s sharing his knowledge with the young guys, getting them ready. For him to have an opportunity to make a play like that for his teammates is pretty good.”

John Hodge is a CFL insider and draft analyst who has been covering the league since 2014.