NEWS
05/03/2016 17:12 EDT | Updated 05/04/2017 01:12 EDT

Veteran Glenn says he could see Canadian Bridge being CFL starter

Kevin Glenn isn't ready to surrender the reins just yet, but he can see Brandon Bridge as the heir apparent with the Montreal Alouettes.

Glenn, 36, enters training camp as Montreal's starter, leaving Bridge and three others to battle for backup duties. Usually that would be no big deal but Bridge, 24, of Mississauga, Ont., is trying to buck a CFL trend and become a Canadian starting quarterback.

The six-foot-four, 229-pound Bridge started Montreal's regular-season finale last year. He completed 21-of-30 passes for 220 yards and two TDs in a 30-24 overtime loss to Saskatchewan, becoming the first Canadian to start a CFL game since B.C.'s Giulio Caravatta in 1996.

Glenn feels Bridge has all the resources needed in Montreal to learn and develop into a starter with the Als, who selected Bridge in the fourth round of last year's CFL draft.

"When you have guys like Anthony (offensive co-ordinator Anthony Calvillo), myself and Jacques (receiver coach Jacques Chapdelaine), there's a lot knowledge and information you can get to be successful and have these long careers," Glenn said last month in Toronto at a CFL promotional shoot. "When you have that (experience) around you, you have to take advantage of it."

Montreal acquired Glenn late last season from Saskatchewan. He made three starts before Bridge got the nod against the Riders.

When Montreal drafted Bridge, head coach/GM Jim Popp said the plan was to bring him along slowly and allow him to gradually learn the pro game. Popp was adamant he selected Bridge, who was invited to the 2015 NFL combine, to play quarterback and not another position.

Montreal has two former CIS quarterbacks on its roster. Linebacker Marc-Olivier Brouillette was a starter for the Montreal Carabins while receiver Kyle Graves played there at Acadia.

Canadian quarterbacks haven't traditionally received much chance to play in the CFL as head coaches, under pressure to win immediately, look to Americans. Not only have they played the position longer than their Canadian counterparts but also against stiffer competition.

Bringing a Canadian along slowly and making the investment of time and money with no guarantees he'll develop into a pro quarterback is a risk many CFL officials feel they can't afford to take. Currently there are no incentives or benefits for clubs to have a Canadian quarterback on their roster.

Still, one of the best CFL quarterbacks ever was Canadian. Hamilton native Russ Jackson led the Ottawa Rough Riders to three Grey Cup wins over his illustrious career (1958-69).

Jackson was named the CFL's outstanding player three times and its top Canadian on four occasions before retiring after the '69 season. Jackson is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame and the Order of Canada.

Popp hasn't been afraid to draft Canadian quarterbacks. In 2001, he used a second-round pick on Ottawa's Jesse Palmer, who was a fourth-round selection of the NFL's New York Giants that year.

In 2012, he also brought former CIS quarterbacks Graves and Kyle Quinlan to camp. Quinlan earned the 2012 Hec Crighton Trophy at McMaster as Canadian university football's top performer but is no longer playing.

Glenn has long accepted the role of mentor, willingly providing the benefits of his experience to those players wanting to know. While some of his younger teammates have picked Glenn's brain, he says Bridge has been especially inquisitive.

"He's a guy I can see a little bit of myself in because I was very inquisitive when I first came into the league," Glenn said. "Seeing that in him, in the back of my mind I can see a guy like that being able to be the quarterback of the future and the quarterback of a team.

"He's taking the advice, he's doing his part and taking initiative in asking questions."

In 2011, Calgary drafted Hec Crighton Trophy-winning quarterback Brad Sinopoli from the University of Ottawa. But with Americans Henry Burris, Glenn, Drew Tate and current starter Bo Levi Mitchell firmly entrenched ahead of him, Sinopoli moved to slotback and last season was the CFL's top Canadian with the Ottawa Redblacks.

"I believe Brad Sinopoli could've played quarterback," Glenn said. "He just wasn't in a really good situation . . . whereas with Brandon, it's wide open.

"I'm the only old guy on the team and I'm not even really old. I didn't get a starting job until my fourth year in the league with Winnipeg so in three years it could be Brandon's team if everything goes right."

Glenn said it would be a boon for the CFL to have a Canadian starter.

"He could own Canada . . . it would be awesome," Glenn said. "When he got to that point, just make sure you remember Kevin Glenn."

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press