‘I love it’: Kevin Glenn would be thrilled if Shawn Lemon played for all nine CFL teams

Photos: Scott Grant & Frank Gunn/CP. Photo edit: 3DownNation.

Kevin Glenn accomplished many things over a CFL career that spanned almost two decades but is most remembered for being the only player in league history to be a member of all nine teams.

The uniqueness of Glenn’s distinction was threatened this past weekend after defensive lineman Shawn Lemon signed with the Montreal Alouettes. The veteran edge rusher has now been part of eight different CFL teams with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats being the only square on his bingo card that remains unstamped.

It would be understandable if Glenn were protective of his unique accomplishment. Instead, he’s excited about the possibility of having another player join his exclusive club.

“I love it, man. It’s joyous, especially because I know Shawn. We played together. To have someone else do it, it’d be great. It’d be great for the league as well because of the person that Shawn is. He’s a talented player, he’s a great person, so I can see why he was sought after for multiple jobs and different teams,” Glenn told 3DownNation via telephone.

“He’s produced a lot and he’s still at that age where he’s young enough to still go out and play and contribute, so I love it. He’s on the defensive side of the ball. We should just go ahead and try to make us a team. We have a quarterback and now we have a defensive end. Let’s try to get an O-lineman or receiver next.”

Glenn dressed for 92 games over two stints with Winnipeg, 73 games over three stints with Saskatchewan, 54 games with Hamilton, 36 games with Calgary, 18 games with B.C., 13 games with Montreal, and 18 games with Edmonton. He never played a game with Toronto or Ottawa, though both teams acquired his rights before trading him elsewhere.

Lemon will dress for his seventh CFL team when he makes his debut with the Alouettes, which could come as soon as the upcoming weekend. He played regular season games in all of his previous CFL stops with the lone exception of Winnipeg where merely spent a few days on the practice roster as a rookie in 2011.

Glenn didn’t sign with Edmonton for his final season in 2018 merely to hit for the CFL cycle. He joined the team as it was coming off a strong season, giving him an opportunity to compete for a Grey Cup behind incumbent starter Michael Reilly. The team ended up finishing at the bottom of the West Division standings with a 9-9 record, squandering Glenn’s final opportunity to win an elusive championship.

Since he retired, being the only player in league history to be a member of all nine teams has developed more meaning for Glenn as he’s gained perspective on his playing career.

“When you’re in the heat of things and you’re actually playing, it’s tough to even think about that kind of stuff because you’re so focused on going out onto the field and being successful for yourself, for the organization, and for the fans that you don’t get a chance to talk about it or think about it,” said Glenn.

“It comes up a lot of the time in just casual conversation and so it does mean a little bit more now. The other big thing is the fact that my family got a chance to move around the country of Canada. To be on the west coast, the east coast and live in cities like Montreal that’s French-speaking, my kids got to experience that. There’s some adults that’ll never get a chance to experience stuff like that, so my kids having a well-rounded experience of being in another country and experience that culture was wonderful.”

Glenn now serves as the head coach at University Liggett School, which is located in a northeast suburb of Detroit. His players are aware of his professional accolades, including his distinction as the only player ever to be a member of all CFL nine teams. He has signed helmets from a number of teams in his office as well as the football he threw to reach 50,000 passing yards on his career.

With the CFL set to host Touchdown Atlantic in Halifax, N.S. this upcoming weekend, talk of expansion to the Maritimes is bound to heat up again. Though it remains unclear if the league will ever add another franchise, Glenn already has big plans if a new team springs up somewhere across Canada.

“If that tenth team comes, wherever it is, I will definitely be contacting the powers that be to sign a one-day contract,” he said. “I might even have to try to beat Shawn if he does (end up playing for all nine teams). Maybe I’ll even go out there and play one game or two, so that’ll be motivation for me to stay in shape.”

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.