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Decision for Chris Streveler to return to the Blue Bombers happened ‘fast’

Chris Streveler spent the better part of 40 minutes answering questions from Winnipeg-based and other CFL reporters on Thursday Morning. The session followed Wednesday’s announcement that the quarterback would be returning to the Blue Bombers for the 2024 season, after beginning his pro career with the blue and gold in 2018.

The extremely personable pivot made it abundantly clear he is not bringing one iota of entitlement — or bitterness for that matter — following a four-year stint with several teams in the National Football League.

The door is still slightly open for the potential return of the fur coat, cowboy hat and shades he wore during the 2019 Grey Cup Parade that earned him folk hero status in this football-crazed market. “Let’s just get to training camp in May,” was Streveler’s response to whether Bomber fans will see that now legendary attire.

Chris Streveler celebrating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers ending a 29 year championship drought during the 2019 Grey Cup victory parade. Global News Winnipeg

As for what prompted Streveler to finally call it a day in his quest to remain on some team’s radar in the NFL, Streveler says clarity was pretty much provided during recent free agent workouts with San Francisco and Chicago.

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“I was just getting frustrated with the opportunity at the workouts. I just wasn’t getting a ton of looks anymore. I’ve done enough of those where you can kind of tell when it’s serious and when it’s not as serious,” was how Streveler described the chain of events that launched the process to begin looking back north of the 49th after waiting 18 weeks for something to happen following a pre-seas0n injury in August. “So that’s kinda where it started. After that workout (with the Bears) I called my agent and said if there’s something real that comes down the pipeline, let me know.”

According to Streveler, once his mindset turned to Canada and the conversation began about a potential return to the Blue Bombers, it all happened very fast. “Everyone knows how much respect I have for this game and the players up north, obviously my love for Winnipeg, so obviously that’s where everything started and things just started snowballing from there. I’m beyond excited about it.”

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Streveler, who acted as his own agent in talks with a handful of other CFL teams, says he was dialed in to what was going on in other quarterback rooms around the league and considered that an important part of the process. But the opportunity and the fit with Winnipeg trumped everything else that was discussed. Especially the chance to resume his working relationship with Zach Collaros, who he messaged just ahead of the official announcement that he had signed a one-year deal with the Blue Bombers.

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“You know I just reached out to him to let him know that I’m really excited to be your teammate,” said Streveler who played a huge role as the backup to Collaros in Winnipeg’s run to the Grey Cup in 2019. “You know, he’s a team first guy, I’m a team first guy. We both want the same thing. We both just want to win.”

And Streveler says it’s that attitude and culture he experienced during his first two years as a pro with Winnipeg, which he’s very much looking forward to being a part of going into his seventh campaign among professional ranks. He’s not at all buying into the narrative that the Blue Bombers could be at risk of “aging out” as a Grey Cup contender.

“It’s very clear I’m not concerned with what some people are saying. What I do know is the culture of that team,” said the 29-year-old Chicago native who shared that his dad is thrilled with his decision to return to the CFL. “I know some of the leaders in that locker room and I know what they stand for. I just want to be a positive influence on the people around me, my teammates (and) just help the team win, whatever that looks like.”

Streveler kept the circle pretty tight with respect to the group of people who knew he might be heading back to Winnipeg. That included Blue Bomber receiver Drew Wolitarsky who is getting married on the weekend in Dunsborough, Australia. Streveler and his girlfriend will be in attendance, after embarking on a journey that would be worthy of the Amazing Race. It begins with a 15-hour flight from Los Angeles to Sydney and continues with another six-hour flight from Sydney to Perth. It then culminates with a two-hour drive in a rental car from Perth to Dunsburough on the southwest coast of Australia.

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“Like my girl loves traveling, but there’s a lot going on. We just moved into a new house. There’s no better reason to go to Australia than to see one of my best friends. When am I ever going to go to Dunsborough if not for this,” said Streveler who said he called Wolitarsky the other day to share his good news with his former University of Minnesota and Blue Bomber teammate. “He was juiced up and I said, her we’re going to have to throw some routes on the beach — play some catch — get that chemistry going again.”

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