Once again, Kevin Glenn has emerged as a valuable insurance policy.
The veteran backup becomes the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ starter after incumbent Darian Durant suffered a season-ending torn Achilles tendon in a 30-26 home loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday night. It’s the fourth straight year Glenn, 35, assumes the No. 1 job from an injured starter after twice replacing Drew Tate in Calgary (2012-13) before making 17 starts last season with the B.C. Lions as Travis Lulay battled shoulder issues.
Durant’s injury capped a nightmarish opening week for CFL quarterbacks. The Montreal Alouettes lost starter Jonathan Crompton and backup Dan LeFevour to separate shoulder injuries in their 20-16 home loss to the Ottawa Redblacks while Edmonton No. 1 Mike Reilly is out indefinitely with a knee ailment suffered in a 26-11 defeat Saturday at the hands of the Toronto Argonauts.
LeFevour will require season-ending surgery for the second straight year. His 2014 campaign with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats was also cut short by a knee injury.
Durant’s ’14 season also ended prematurely against Winnipeg. He suffered a season-ending elbow injury in a 30-24 win last July and the Riders went 2-7 the rest of the way with Kerry Joseph, Seth Doege and Tino Sunseri taking snaps.
Joseph retired in the off-season and both Doege and Sunseri were released although Sunseri could return with Durant’s injury. Head coach Corey Chamblin feels the presence of Glenn, in his 15th CFL season, puts Saskatchewan in a much better position to weather the storm created by Durant’s absence.
“It’s not a situation we haven’t seen before,” Chamblin told reporters Monday. “We didn’t want it to happen but it has happened . . . and we have to move to the next play with the next person.
“The guys rallied around (Glenn), talked to him when he came here about, ‘You’re here for either performance or presence.’ We thought it’d be presence but right now it’s for performance. This is the third team I’ve been on that he’s been the starting quarterback, that’s unique in its own sense. We’ve had success, Kevin has had success everywhere he’s been so I fully expect him to continue doing the same thing here.”
Riders GM Brendan Taman expects Durant to resume playing next season.
“It’s not career-ending,” Taman said. “There’s a lot of work to be done with that kind of injury but it’s been proven in pro sports guys can overcome that.”
Toronto opened the season with backup Trevor Harris under centre as starter Ricky Ray is on the six-game injured list recovering from off-season shoulder injury. Compounding Montreal’s quarterback situation is veteran Tanner Marsh also began the season on the six-game injured list, leaving Canadian rookie Brandon Bridge as the potential starter Friday night when the Als host the Grey Cup-champion Calgary Stampeders.
Edmonton doesn’t play again until July 8 when it hosts Ottawa. Reilly is scheduled to undergo tests this week and if he can’t go backup Matt Nichols, in his sixth CFL season, is expected to start against the Redblacks.
LeFevour’s injury was certainly untimely considering he signed a one-year deal with Montreal in the off-season after spending three years in Hamilton. Despite having suffered season-ending injuries the last two seasons, the six-foot-three, 230-pound LeFevour doesn’t believe CFL quarterbacks should be better protected.
“It’s the nature of the beast,” he said. “Sometimes guys are going to get caught in awkward positions and are going to get hurt.
“For whatever reason, it’s been happening more frequently at the quarterback position up here.”
But Montreal’s season opener offered a rare first for Josh Bourque, the Alouettes towering six-foot-seven, 300-pound tackle who’s in his ninth CFL season.
“One quarterback might go down, we saw that this weekend, but it’s pretty rare for two guys to go down,” said the native of Windsor, Ont. “It’s tough, since I’ve been up here I’ve never seen that.”
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press