- Free Agency
CALGARY — John Hufnagel’s Calgary Stampeders depth chart at quarterback is cut and dry. Drew Tate is No. 1. Kevin Glenn is No. 2. Brad Sinopoli is No. 3.
That, of course, is the situation as of today — 24 hours after the trade with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats that brought Glenn, centre Mark Dewit and a conditional draft pick to the Stampeders in return for quarterback Henry Burris.
The situation at the end of training camp in late June? Well, that’s anybody’s guess, and Hufnagel is making no promises, not offering any insight — all he wants is competition in camp, and let the best man win.
“I think in talking with Kevin and his agent (Mark Maren) in these past few days, he’s very excited about the opportunity he has in Calgary,” said Hufnagel on Tuesday.
“There are no limitations. If you want to put a depth chart up, he’s the No. 2 quarterback, as of Jan. 3. That’s why you go to training camp. I don’t want a controversy, but I can’t foresee what the future is going to be.”
Nor, for that matter, does the 32-year-old Glenn, who’ll be dressing for his fourth Canadian Football League team over a dozen seasons when he hits the field at McMahon Stadium in June.
After an up-and-down season with the Ticats in which he shared playing time with Quinton Porter and seemed to chafe at the situation, the opportunity for a fresh start with the Stampeders, combined with uncertainty in Steeltown, where a new head coach has yet to be named was a welcome one.
“I’m very excited about this,” said Glenn, who’s surpassed the 5,000-yard mark in passing twice in the past five years, from his off-season home in Detroit, where he’s a co-owner of two Tim Hortons outlets
“I mean, I was excited to be coming into a situation like Calgary, where the coach is entrenched in the organization and they’ve had a lot of success. I hear so many good things about the organization, that it’s a class act. Sometimes you need change, and it’s a good thing.”
That reaction is hardly atypical from Glenn, who’s been a strong team guy throughout his career, and has been very active in the community; he won the CFL’s Tom Pate Award last November for team leadership and community work.
Glenn comes into a quarterback scenario in flux with the departure of Burris.
Burris, after all, is the Stamps’ franchise career leader in touchdown passes, passing yardage and completions.
But Glenn is arriving with an open mind.
“I think it’s all just competition,” said Glenn, who’s entering the option year of his contract. “I’ve pretty much been told to come in and compete, and that’s what everyone wants. You never want to get a guy on your team who’s just willing to settle for something — that’s how I look at it.
“Whoever gets the job, I’m going to do my part as far as helping the team and doing everything I can to be a good teammate. Talk to anybody, coaches, teammates, and you’ll know that’s what Kevin Glenn is all about.”
Burris’s departure was expected from the moment he gave up the starting job to Tate last October after a poor first-half performance in Toronto; he accepted his fate reluctantly, and once the season was done, he made it clear he wasn’t willing to share the job with Tate in 2012.
“It’s definitely going to be a huge transition, but with us taking Tate as our go-to guy, I think this is great,” said Stamps running back Jon Cornish.
“Kevin Glenn comes in with a lot of experience, he’s been in the league for a long time, he’s led teams to Grey Cups. We get that, and he can be a really capable backup for Drew, if it comes to that.
“It’s a complex issue with Henry, but all of the guys really appreciated everything that he did for the team. Everybody respected him. But at the end of the day, you have to go with what the coaches think. But I think both teams will benefit from this trade.”
Burris, in a Ticats news release, expressed optimism about the deal.
“I’m excited to be coming to a first class organization like the Tiger-Cats and looking forward to playing in front of one of the best fan bases in the league,” said Burris, the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player in 2010 and the Grey Cup MVP two years earlier.
“This team has a very bright future and I’m eager to be a part of it. My family and I would like to thank the Stampeders organization and their fans for everything they have done for us during my career in Calgary. We made a lot of great memories in Calgary, and we’re looking forward to competing for another championship in Hamilton.”
Dewit, 25, played high school football at Bishop Carroll before moving onto the University of Calgary, where he won a CIS wrestling title.
He took over from the injured Marwan Hage as the Ticats’ starting centre last season. He’ll compete with Jon Gott for the starting centre job, with Tim O’Neill headed to free agency.
“I grew up a Calgary Stampeders fan, I had season’s tickets with my dad pretty much since I was born, I think, and it’s just exciting being able to play with them,” said Dewit, whose dad, John, played college football at Weber State with Stamps president Lyle Bauer.
“I was really happy with the opportunity Hamilton gave me, it worked out great there, and now it’s going to work out even better in Calgary.”