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Chris Streveler Tries To Find NFL Home With Cardinals

Former CFL quarterback could find niche with Taysom Hill-type role

New Cardinals quarterback Chris Streveler runs down the field during a game with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2019.
New Cardinals quarterback Chris Streveler runs down the field during a game with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2019.

The move came at the end of the second week of March, which was going to be perfect for Chris Streveler to get situated after the former Canadian Football League quarterback signed with the Cardinals.

He'd have a month or so to get acclimated before the team's offseason program began, and he moved into an apartment close to the team's Tempe facility. The plan was perfect – except the following Monday, the Cardinals shut down their facility because of the coronavirus.

"It hasn't been exactly what I was hoping for, to be in the facility and be around everybody," Streveler acknowledged in a recent phone interview.

Instead, Streveler, who won last year's Grey Cup championship with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as a QB who also caught passes and ran the ball, has had to wait to show if he can indeed bring his Taysom Hill-type tendencies to the Kliff Kingsbury offense.

The parallels to the Saints do-it-all-backup-QB began in the CFL, with it all on display in the Grey Cup win. As the Blue Bombers' jack-of-all-trades, he completed all three passes he threw for 39 yards, had nine rushes for 30 yards and caught a 13-yard pass.

Perhaps it's a hint of what he can become with the Cardinals, but "I am a quarterback," Streveler said.

"They made that explicitly clear to me from the beginning when I first worked out, that's what coach Kingsbury said to me, and that's what ultimately is my position and what I love to do," Streveler said. "I also told them, 'Look, I want to make the squad, I want to contribute in any way I can.' I'm a quarterback and that's what I want to do, but if there are other ways to contribute so I can potentially make the team, I'm willing to do it."

The Cards have their starting quarterback, of course. And behind Kyler Murray is veteran Brett Hundley, with Streveler battling Drew Anderson for a potential third slot (which could be more necessary in a season with COVID-19).

Blue Bombers quarterback Chris Streveler holds up the Grey Cup during the Winnipeg championship parade in 2019.
Blue Bombers quarterback Chris Streveler holds up the Grey Cup during the Winnipeg championship parade in 2019.

Streveler knows the lost offseason – at least the on-field portion – hurts any player trying to find his way on the roster for the first time. So Streveler sat in on all the special teams meetings during the Cardinals' virtual learning period. Off the field, he threw passes a couple of times a week to new teammates Christian Kirk, Chase Edmonds and Trent Sherfield, going over the playbook and trying to flatten his learning curve.

"He's been fun to get to know and be around," Kirk said. "Hard working guy, and he's been willing to learn and throw some routes. (We've) been able to help him and get him up to speed so it's not too overwhelming."

Even without his versatile abilities, Streveler's backstory makes him an intriguing addition. He played in college with new teammates Maxx Williams and De'Vondre Campbell at the University of Minnesota before transferring and finishing out at the University of South Dakota.

Before the NFL draft – and Streveler eventually was undrafted, signing in the CFL -- his pro day was held at South Dakota State. There he met up with a linebacker from the University of Sioux Falls who just happened to be his travel baseball teammate in Illinois when they were 10, a guy he again ran into in the Cardinals' cafeteria when Streveler showed up for his January free-agent workout.

"I'm like, 'Strevy, what's up, man?' " current Cardinals linebacker Dennis Gardeck said. "It was really cool. I told him, 'I could totally see you as a Taysom Hill-style player fitting in this system.' "

Gardeck became a link to Streveler's new home once he moved. He introduced Streveler to Brett Fischer, the team's physical therapy consultant who owns the gym where some Cardinals train. That led to meeting Edmonds and Sherfield, among others.

Gardeck sees a guy who has the personality that would mesh well with the current roster. Streveler certainly has personality – he was a huge fan favorite in Winnipeg, culminating in his famous look in the championship parade of going shirtless with a fur coat, sunglasses and a cowboy hat.

"That's just me. That's kind of who I am," Streveler said. "When it comes down to it, I'm going to work. It's business and about winning. But the parade, we had such a tight quarterback room, that was the culmination, once we won we could let loose and have a little fun. We had talked about as a group doing something crazy for the parade, if we got to that point."

Streveler did have a chance to work out for the Buccaneers and the Dolphins as well. But he loved the Kingsbury offense, and quarterbacks coach Tom Clements has deep CFL connections after a long playing career north of the border.

The Cardinals made sense, even if his actual move to Arizona has felt out of the ordinary.

"Once I left the Arizona workout," Streveler said, "I felt really good about how I would be able to fit in."

Images of coach Kliff Kingsbury from the 2019 season