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In a room full of professional football players Kevin Glenn stands out for all the wrong reasons.
At 5’10” the veteran quarterback is hardly the biggest player. He’s not the fastest, and doesn’t bowl over tacklers with his strength. What his B.C. Lions’ teammates will tell you though is Glenn possesses the most important traits to be successful.
“He’s a tough dude,” said quarterback Travis Lulay, who has been forced to watch Glenn run the offence while he recovers from off-season shoulder surgery. “You can’t play the position for a long time if you’re not mentally and physically tough enough to handle it.”
Glenn is like a rubber ball. The harder it’s thrown against the wall, the harder it bounces back.
The Detroit native has been criticized this year for throwing a league-high 11 interceptions and sometimes not seeing the open man. He also is second in the CFL with 1,797 passing yards, has tossed eight touchdown passes, and is one of the reasons the Lions (4-2) remain in the hunt for a playoff spot in the highly competitive West Division.
“That shows his character,” said Canadian receiver Shawn Gore. “He might struggle, he might throw two interceptions, but he’s coming back.”
“It shows what kind of guy he is because of lot of people might just fail.”
Glenn, named the CFL’s Offensive Player of the Week, has learned from his rollercoaster career. At 35 years old he’s comfortable in his abilities and understands what he can achieve.
“We strive to be perfect,” he said. “Everybody is human so you know you’re not going to be perfect.”
“As long as you strive to be perfect you’ll end up on the positive side most of the time.”
Glenn even managed some humour when talking about needing a short memory when it comes to throwing interceptions.
“I’m tired of forgetting about them,” he said. “As a quarterback you have to be able to get over it.”
“It’s going to happen. You don’t want it to happen as much as it has been happening. I’m not going to be afraid to throw the next one.”
Glenn’s performance in the Lions’ 36-29 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last week was a snap shot of his season, maybe even his career. He was picked off twice, both deflections, but also threw for 407 yards. It was the seventh time in his career he’s thrown for over 400 yards.
At times the Lions’ offence coughed and stalled under Glenn. Just when things looked headed to the ditch, Glenn would regain control and steer into the fast lane. He finished the night completing 22 of 36 passes and directed scoring drives of five plays for 97 yards, 10 plays for 65 yards and five plays for 72 yards.
Showing he still had a few tricks up his sleeve, Glenn surprised just about everyone in the building when he tucked the ball under his arm and ran 19 yards for a touchdown himself. It was only the 12th rushing touchdown of his 14-year career and his second on the ground in the last five seasons. He also was elusive in the pocket, stepping away from tacklers to deliver completions.
Head coach Mike Benevides said Glenn has made a career out of proving people wrong. He’s still around after other quarterbacks with stronger arms, faster feet and maybe more talent are gone.
“He’s a winner,” said Benevides. “He is very composed, he’s very level headed. He competes.
“What ever stigma he has, he has, but he always overcomes that. What ever he has to do, he finds a way to get it done.”
Glenn also understands his role on the Lions. He was brought to Vancouver as a band aide while Lulay heals. Once Lulay is healthy, Glenn will return to his role as a backup.
“That’s what you look for in leadership,” said Lions’ safety J. R. LaRose. “He knew coming in this was Travis’s team.
“For now he is our leader. He’s the captain of the ship right now.”
While Glenn has played centre stage with the Lions this year, Gore has become an important member of the supporting cast. The Bishop’s graduate had a season-high five catches for 117 yards against Hamilton. For the season the fifth-year Lion has 14 catches for 248 yards.
Gore made a couple of pretty catches against Hamilton. In the first quarter he reached behind him to make a one-handed grab for a 20-yard gain. In the second quarter he extended himself to make a diving catch and held on to the ball after taking a big hit.
“He’s a guy that sometimes gets overlooked because we have so many great receivers,” said Glenn. “Sometimes he’s that third or fourth guy (and) he doesn’t get enough balls.
“When he gets chances he makes plays. He’s a very under-rated receiver.”
On team with receivers like Emmanuel Arceneaux, Courtney Taylor, Ernest Jackson and even running back Andrew Harris, Gore knows he must be patient.
“I can’t say it’s frustrating,” said the 27-year-old from Toronto. “We have so many guys that can make plays with the ball you have to spread it out.”
“It’s just about the opportunity to make plays. In an 18-game season it’s going to happen.”
Benevides said Gore is beginning to become the player the Lions were looking for when they took him 10th overall in the 2010 draft.
“Shawn has looked as good as I have ever seen him,” said Benevides. “He’s looking faster, more supple.”
“He’s going to have a stellar season as we continue to grow as an offence.”