CALGARY — John Hufnagel knew he was going to lose a few good men on Monday.
That’s exactly what happened as the Ottawa Redblacks selected quarterback Kevin Glenn in the first round of the Canadian Football League expansion draft and then followed up by taking offensive lineman J’Micheal Deane and safety Eric Fraser in the second and third rounds respectively.
“I’m not real pleased about the day,” said Hufnagel, who guided the Calgary Stampeders to a CFL-best record of 14-4 as coach and general manager this past season. “I’m also proud that these players did a great job being a Calgary Stampeder. They’re good people, good players and I wish them all the best going out to the nation’s capital. They’ll still be wearing red.”
Glenn, 34, spent the last two seasons with Calgary but was left unprotected for the draft by the Stampeders. After appearing in 15 games last year with the Stamps, the 12-year CFL veteran will be reunited with Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell, who served as Calgary’s defensive co-ordinator last season.
“I talked to Kevin this morning after he was selected by Ottawa and I thanked him,” said Hufnagel, who acquired Glenn from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats nearly two years ago in a deal that sent Henry Burris the other way. “I knew I was getting a good quarterback in the trade two years ago, but I never fathomed that he would be on the field as much as he had and had the success.
It’s not (that) I didn’t think he would be successful. I didn’t think we would need him to be on the field as much as he was needed.“
Glenn, a Detroit native, completed 223-of-335 passes (66.6 per cent) for 2,710 yards and 18 touchdowns with seven interceptions this past season. He led the Stamps to the West final in each of his two seasons, including an appearance in the 2012 Grey Cup. He was also the starter in 20 regular-season victories, tops among all CFL quarterbacks over the past two seasons.
“He’s a quarterback that showed up every game,” Hufnagel said. “He took his lumps and just got back up and kept playing.”
With Glenn out of the picture, Drew Tate and Bo Levi Mitchell will now battle for the role of starting quarterback with the Stamps in 2014.
“I still have a couple guys that can win football games and so I’m excited about that,” Hufnagel said. “I’m also excited about finding another young quarterback through our hard work in the off-season to come to training camp to compete.”
Because the Stamps lost a quarterback to Ottawa in the first round, under expansion draft rules the Redblacks weren’t allowed to select either of Calgary’s kickers, Rene Paredes or Rob Maver, in subsequent rounds.
Originally drafted by Calgary in the third round (21st overall) in the 2010 CFL Canadian Draft, Deane played 38 regular-season games over three seasons with the Stamps at both tackle and guard.
“J’Micheal Deane is a very versatile offensive lineman that played everywhere on the offensive line for us except for the centre position and he has a long, bright future in this league,” Hufnagel said. “I’m sure he’s excited about going into a team where he knows most likely he’ll be a full-time starter, which he really wasn’t here game in and game out.”
Fraser was Calgary’s first-round selection (eighth overall) in the 2009 CFL Canadian Draft and he played 69 regular-season games over four seasons as a safety and on special teams.
“He’s played great football,” said Hufnagel of Fraser, who recorded 108 tackles, 37 special-team tackles, three sacks and five interceptions during his time as a Stamp. “He’ll play a long time in the nation’s capital.”
Despite the loss of Fraser, Hufnagel said he’ll still be able to choose from Keenan MacDougall, Adam Berger or Jeff Hecht to play at the safety position next year.
“It was a position where I have a lot of depth and I knew I would probably lose a player in that position,” Hufnagel said. “I just didn’t know which one. We still have three people that can man the position who I’m very comfortable with.”
When asked how the search to find a new defensive co-ordinator to replace Campbell was going, Hufnagel responded, “It’s going well thank you.”
He later mentioned that he interrupted a coaching interview to meet with the media to talk about the players he lost to the Redblacks in the expansion draft.
“As soon as I’m done here, I’m going to go back and finish the interview.”