Winnipeg Grey Cup hero Chris Streveler is one giant step closer to living his dream of playing in the NFL, but the former Winnipeg Blue Bomber quarterback gives much of the credit to his adopted hometown.
“I’m never going to forget about Winnipeg. I’m so thankful for the opportunities I was given here, the people I’ve met, the relationships I’ve made with teammates and coaches and fans.
“It’s such a special place to me, and I wouldn’t be in this position without Winnipeg,” Streveler told 680 CJOB.
“I’m more than thankful for everything that city’s done for me.”
Streveler, a fan favourite who helped the city’s CFL team to its first Grey Cup championship in decades, was signed by the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday, so despite publicly hoping he’d return as a Bomber, he said the opportunity down south was something he just couldn’t pass up.
“I flew down there on Tuesday and got officially signed. They want me as a quarterback,” he said.
“I’m just kind of advertising myself as trying to do whatever it takes to get an opportunity and stay on the team… trying to be as versatile as possible.
“I’m extremely excited to get out there and get to work.”
Streveler, 25, played the last two seasons in blue and gold, most notably closing out the Bombers’ championship run as part of a tandem with quarterback Zach Collaros, who was recently re-signed by Winnipeg.
He said he still considers his Bombers teammates his brothers, and despite the massive opportunity in front of him with the Cardinals, he was hesitant to leave Winnipeg due to the close friendships he made on and off the field.
“The last couple days have been a bit overwhelming, and I’m just so thankful for all the support.
“I’ll be back to Winnipeg. I’ll visit a few times this year. I’ll try to be around as much as possible and be around my teammates and see fans, and let everyone know how much I appreciate them.”
While Streveler’s on-field play made him an instant favourite of the Bombers faithful, his post-championship antics in the city’s Grey Cup parade cemented him as a local icon.
The image of the QB – shirtless except for a woman’s fur coat, wearing a cowboy hat, smoking a cigar, and drinking copious amounts of alcohol – was one of the most memorable in an historic season for the team.
The coat, at least, isn’t going with the player to Arizona.
“I have not put it up on eBay,” he said.
“A very nice lady in Winnipeg fixed it up for me for free and then gave it back to my girlfriend’s mom, so it’s just sitting there in their house right now while we figure out what to do… whether we auction it off to charity or put it in the Hall of Fame or something.”