Kevin Glenn deserves a moving tribute.
The 37-year-old product of Detroit has criss-crossed Canada during his 17-year CFL career, spending various amounts of time with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Calgary Stampeders, BC Lions and Montreal Alouettes.
The quarterback’s rights also belonged briefly to the Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa REDBLACKS at some points, but he didn’t play a down for either of those teams before being traded.
Moving around the CFL as much as Glenn has could give a person a complex, but he prefers to view it as a feather in his cap.
“At first, it was kind of a joke,” says Glenn, who’s preparing for his third go-round with the Roughriders, “but as you start to look at it, it’s like, ‘Why not?’ It’s kind of cool.”
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Glenn, a product of Illinois State University, began his CFL career in Saskatchewan in 2001.
He spent three seasons with the Roughriders before being traded to Toronto in March of 2004. The Argos immediately flipped his rights to the Bombers, with whom he spent the next five seasons.
Glenn signed with Hamilton in March of 2009 and played three seasons with the Tiger-Cats before being traded to Calgary in January of 2012.
Following two campaigns with the Stampeders, Glenn was selected by Ottawa in its expansion draft. But the REDBLACKS added Henry Burris before their inaugural season of 2014, so Glenn was shipped to BC.
He spent one season with the Lions before signing with Saskatchewan in February of 2015. The following October, he was traded to the Als, with whom he completed the 2015 season.
Montreal dealt Glenn to Winnipeg in September of 2016 and he finished that season with the Bombers. Released by Winnipeg in January, Glenn subsequently signed with Saskatchewan.
Over the years, he has been a starter and a backup — an insurance policy, as it were — and he enters the 2017 season ranked seventh on the CFL’s all-time list with 48,782 passing yards.
He also has been popular with teammates, media members and fans at every stop along the way.
“(Moving so often) has been pretty cool; it’s a very cool conversation piece,” Glenn says with a chuckle. “When you meet someone from Vancouver, you can say, ‘Oh, I lived in Vancouver. We stayed on the beach five minutes from the border. We did a lot of shopping in the U.S. We took trips to Seattle.’ It’s very good when you meet people.
“Culturally, to be able to say that I’ve lived in and visited these cities is pretty cool. I’m well-travelled across Canada. It’s not the Caribbean with the nice weather, but as an American, it’s exciting to be able to say that I’ve travelled across the country.”
He’s not the only one.
Glenn’s wife, Asha, is a teacher, so she and the couple’s two children (eight-year-old Kaleb and soon-to-be five-year-old Dylan) get to spend summers with Kevin in whatever city he’s based. They also travel to see him whenever possible after returning to Detroit for the school year.
Glenn believes his tour of the CFL has been a good thing for his children.
“You get some kids who not only never get to visit another country but never get to leave their state,” Glenn says. “My kids have lived in cities in another country and they can remember it.
“Being exposed to certain things helps you through life because you get to see it from a whole different perspective. A kid who never leaves the city of Detroit will not have the same perspective on growth or on life as a kid who has lived in every city in Canada as well as having lived and grown up in the city of Detroit.”
Glenn’s tour of Canada has prompted some rapid adjustments — trades require moves within days or even hours — but he has tried to turn that skill into a positive. In his mind, it’s a life lesson for him and his children.
“Everything’s not going to go the way you planned, so when something happens, you have to solve the problem or adjust to do something that you hadn’t planned on doing,” Glenn says. “That’s what this game presents.
“It also helps me at parenting. I can use some of these examples that I went through for my kids. If they have to change schools because we move, they’re like, ‘Now I’ve got to make new friends.’ I can say, ‘Listen, Kaleb. I went through this when I got traded. This is what I did when I went to a new team to get the guys to accept me or look at me for who I am.’ ’’
Glenn certainly has had lots of practice. But as valuable as that ability is, he admits there’s a part of him that wishes he didn’t have it.
“Everybody’s dream is to play in one place forever,” he says. “Milt Stegall is a legend in Winnipeg not just because of what he did (as a Bombers receiver) but because he only played in one place.
“Those fans love him because he was there his whole career. He has no jersey out there except the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ jersey. On the flip side, I can go into any stadium and see a Kevin Glenn jersey.”
Well, maybe not every stadium. Glenn’s rights have never belonged to the Edmonton Eskimos, so it’s doubtful that anyone in the Alberta capital has a green-and-gold Kevin Glenn jersey.
Perhaps that’s why Glenn has suggested he’ll sign a one-day contract with the Eskimos before he retires.
“I have to. I have to,” he says, a smile spreading across his face. “If Ed (Hervey) is still the GM, I know he would (offer Glenn a deal). But if he didn’t, I would start a petition. I’m sure I could get every fan in the CFL to sign it because it has never been done to have one guy who has been affiliated — not necessarily played or suited up but affiliated — with every team.
“I’d go down as a trivia question in the CFL. Everybody would always remember Kevin Glenn.”
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