VANCOUVER - The B.C. Lions opted to improve themselves at quarterback Tuesday rather than pick fifth overall in the Canadian Football League draft.
General manager Wally Buono dealt the pick to the expansion Ottawa RedBlacks for veteran QB Kevin Glenn. The Leos were without a proven backup after Buck Pierce retired and Thomas DeMarco was scooped up by Ottawa in the expansion draft. First-stringer Travis Lulay, of course, had major shoulder surgery in the off-season so a quality backup was deemed a necessity by the Lions.
Glenn, 34, seemed somewhat surprised by the deal. He has been in the league since 2001. He has a year left on his contract.
“To be honest, I didn’t know if anything was actually going to happen,” Glenn said from his off-season home in Detroit. “I had a conversation with Marcel Desjardins (Ottawa GM) a couple of weeks ago and he basically was telling me there wasn’t anything going on, no real talks. I knew if something could come about, it would be in the draft but I didn’t know who, or when. Sometimes guys aren’t eager to give up a draft pick so for a team to give up a first-round pick, it shows they really want you. That’s why I was excited.”
Glenn’s previous stops in the league include Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Hamilton and Calgary. Glenn and new Lions offensive coordinator Khari Jones were teammates in Winnipeg in 2004. Jones also coached Glenn when both were in Hamilton from 2009-11.
“We had a great player-player relationship and then also a player-coach relationship and it’s continued to this day even though we weren’t on the same team,” Glenn said. “I think there is some unfinished business that we started in Hamilton. It’s great to be back with him.”
Jones was delighted to add Glenn to his huddle. The Lions also have John Beck and Chris Hart at the quarterback position but neither has CFL experience.
“I think Kevin will be happy with this move and we’re happy as well,” said Jones. “Kevin is a quality quarterback who has won a lot of games in this league and you love to have those guys. He can still throw the football so with Travis and Kevin, we have a very good group at quarterback. I think it’s important because, when you look around the league, it’s a tough league to play 18 games as a quarterback.”
The Lions were seeking an offensive lineman in the draft but when they were unable to move up into one of the top two spots, Buono opted to deal the pick. Laval’s Pierre Lavertu and Simon Fraser’s Matthias Goossen went 1-2 to Calgary and Winnipeg respectively.
“We looked at a lot of options before we made the trade,” Buono explained. “You have to value what’s in the draft, what you believe you’re going to get and what a veteran quarterback like Kevin can give you. We tried to make some trades to maybe move up in the draft but, when that didn’t occur, we made an evaluation of the fifth pick in comparison to a veteran quarterback who could help us win.
“When all was said and done, we decided that the best thing for this football club at this time was to get Kevin Glenn. He is a proven winner where ever he has been.”
The Lions had two picks in the second round and selected offensive lineman T-Dre Player of Northwestern State (Louisiana) at No. 12 and Laval running back Pascal Lochard at No. 14. Player was born in Winnipeg but played both his high school and college football in the U.S.
In subsequent rounds, the Leos took linebacker Casey Chin (SFU) in the third; defensive lineman David Menard (Montreal) in the fourth; receiver Alex Fox (Bishop’s) in the fifth; defensive lineman Dylan Roper (SFU, Gerald’s nephew) in the sixth; and running back Guillaume Bourassa (Laval) in the seventh.
GRID BITS: The Lions announced earlier Tuesday they have already sold more than 35,000 tickets for the 2014 Grey Cup, to be held Nov. 30 at B.C. Place Stadium.
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