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Stettler’s Churchill excited to play closer to home

He won the Grey Cup in Toronto last year
Theren Churchill, 28, of Stettler will play for the Edmonton Elks this coming CFL season. (Photo courtesy of Toronto Argonauts)

After spending the last two seasons playing football for the Toronto Argonauts, Stettler’s Theren Churchill wanted to play closer to home.

And on Sunday, the 28-year-old offensive lineman got his wish in a trade to the Edmonton Elks in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2024 CFL Draft.

“I wasn’t surprised it was more mutual than anything,” Churchill told The Advocate. “For a little bit, I was contemplating retirement. I wasn’t too sure how to go about it or what we were going to do.

“I didn’t want to go out to Toronto and that’s nothing against them. I just thought it was time to come back home and be closer to my family. That was my number one priority being a father.”

Churchill and his wife welcomed their first child in June 2022 and during the season they would live apart from each other. He spent his offseason in their home in Edmonton and once it was time to report to the Argonauts, she stayed in Edmonton.

The distance, especially with a newborn, was difficult.

“She’s been a rock for our family taking on a lot of the responsibility while I’m away. I think a lot of people forget that professional athletes have their own personal lives and things they’ve got to deal with too,” he said.

“This was really more a personal decision rather than a football decision but I’m glad it was able to work out mutually both ways.”

Churchill was selected in the first round ninth overall by the Toronto Argonauts in the 2020 CFL Draft and through two seasons he appeared in 26 games.

He also helped the Argos win their first Grey Cup since 2017 defeating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 24-23 in Regina last November.

“I look back on it fondly. There are a lot of great memories not only winning a Grey Cup that’s something that will stick with me for the rest of my life but the bonds that football creates between the guys and even the coaches,” he said.

“The things we learned that will carry us forward into the rest of our lives too. What hard work brings and seeing what a championship team looks like is a lesson that can be carried forward into this year in football but also what hard work does in life as well.”

Currently, in training camp with Elks, he said it’s been a good start so far and gave credit to head coach and general manager Chris Jones for the roster he’s put together.

“The move to Edmonton definitely brings me closer to home but on the field, I think what the team envisions is hopefully getting in some more playing time here in Edmonton.”

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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