This Thanksgiving, Alouettes running back Chris Jennings may get another opportunity on first-and-goal.
And quite frankly, it should be a piece of pumpkin pie for a guy who has faced third and extremely long odds for the better part of his life.
As the Als are forced to once again spin the revolving door of receivers due to injury, Jennings has completed a unique double-reverse to the NFL and back, just in time to give rival defences double trouble out of the backfield.
Lost in the ashes of that Steeltown meltdown that saw their former teammate Avon Cobourne rush for 100+ yards in the Alouettes’ goodbye and good riddance to Ivor Wynne game, was Jennings who was brought to Montreal originally in the fall of 2008, saying hello to the endzone for the first time in the CFL.
In hindsight, his four-year dash to the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets and UFL’s Hartford Colonials was a blur for the undrafted University of Arizona product.
However, Jennings, a bulging 5-foot-11, 218-pound load, just doesn’t want to wait another four years for the next score.
“I’ve had some detours,” Jennings said in a low key, matter of fact tone at Olympic Stadium after a team meeting.
When he first arrived on the Als’ practice roster, he served as backup to the backup Brandon Whitaker behind Cobourne for parts of the 2008-09 seasons.
“Brandon and I were grinding it out,” Jennings recalls. “You never know how the game is. Jim Popp gave me the opportunity to go live and fulfill my dream and that’s where it took me. Avon is a great man and a great football player, but Brandon (out for the season with a torn ACL) is a real close buddy of mine.”
Jennings’ football career went against the grain thanks in part to the Popp family’s Cleveland connection. Jim’s father Joe had worked for the organization (Trestman also worked for the Browns in the Bernie Kosar era) and Jim maintained solid ties.
The Browns asked Popp repeatedly about Jennings, who won glowing reviews from the Als’ GM, eager to return a favour, not to mention ensure no other CFL rival stole his prospect.
Within weeks, a plague of injuries hit the Cleveland backfield and Jennings was a starter in the four-down world.
Rick Moffat is the Voice of the Montreal Alouettes on CJAD 800. He works alongside former CFL Dave Mudge. Moffat's first attended Grey Cup was as a fan in '77 - the infamous Tony Proudfoot "Staple Game". Rick is proud to say he had his first beer at an Als' game during the Marv Levy Era. Follow Rick on Twitter @RickMoffat.
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