June 24, 2024

Chris Streveler won’t be flying to football games in a luxury private plane this season, but he’s perfectly okay with that.

The backup quarterback appreciates the glitz and growth he experienced in the NFL but is equally excited to return to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Streveler was all smiles at training camp this week, reflecting on his football journey and his return to the team with which he won the 2019 Grey Cup in his second CFL season.

The gritty dual-threat quarterback from Crystal Lake, Ill., became a local legend during the victory parade, donning a fur coat over his bare chest, a white cowboy hat, and chugging beer along the route as fans celebrated the end of a 28-season championship drought.

Local legend Streveler happy to be back in Winnipeg after three seasons in  NFL

When Streveler pursued his NFL dreams, Winnipeg fans cheered for their adopted son on social media.

“One thing about Winnipeg that’s just amazing is that if anyone comes to Winnipeg and then leaves, the people in Winnipeg support that,” said Streveler, 29. “They love to see their own going out and promoting Winnipeg and doing well, so they cheer you on.”

At an autograph session in March, Bomber fans lined up to welcome him back, with some even wearing fur coats.

Starting quarterback Zach Collaros laughs when asked about having such a popular backup.

“It’s great for me, it’s less attention,” he said. “Chris is a great guy. It’s easy to see why people are drawn to him. Not just his performance during the playoff run and the Grey Cup and the parade after with the fur coat and all that stuff, but he’s a magnetic personality. People love to be around him and I think that’s great for our team, it’s great for our room. He’s a great guy to work with and to learn from.”

Streveler said his experiences in the NFL changed his life “in every way” — professionally, personally, and financially. Signed by the Arizona Cardinals in 2020, he played in seven regular-season games over two years and met his current girlfriend.

After stints with the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins, Chris Streveler played in two regular-season games with the New York Jets in 2022. He qualified for an NFL pension and other benefits such as insurance. However, a thumb injury on his throwing hand last August led the Jets to waive him with an injury settlement.

When no further opportunities arose after a workout with the Chicago Bears in early January, Streveler turned his focus back to the CFL, with Winnipeg as his top choice.

“Being around some of the best players in the world and learning the game through their eyes changes your perspective as a quarterback,” Streveler said. “In five years, I’ve matured a lot and learned to have in-depth football conversations and be an active contributor to a quarterback room.”

Streveler is grateful for his NFL memories. “The plane we had in Arizona was unbelievable,” he recalled. “It was a double-decker with coaches sitting upstairs, a full menu of food, reclining chairs, and first-class compartments. That was really cool.”

He appreciated the top-notch facilities and advanced technology used in practices. Sessions were recorded, and backups like himself could use virtual-reality goggles to go through reads afterward.

“But I don’t mind being here,” he said after practice at the renamed Princess Auto Stadium. “These facilities have everything we need to be successful. You don’t need the most flashy and glamorous setups. As long as players have what they need to succeed, which we do, that’s all that matters.”

QB Chris Streveler returns to Blue Bombers on one-year deal

Streveler emphasized his commitment to the CFL and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. “I honestly could not be happier to be here,” he said. “I have no desire to go back to the NFL. I’m 100 percent focused on being here and trying to win games with this team. There are just so many good people here.”


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