TORONTO — One collects Air Jordans, the other likes to go camping in his RV.
They’re both tough as nails, have been around the CFL block and have a good sense of humour, although one shows it off more than the other.
And they can play a bit.
Rival quarterbacks Kevin Glenn and Ricky Ray bring plenty to the Grey Cup table.
Ray, a 10-year veteran in his first season with Toronto, has added poise and stability to the Argonauts’ offence. Many are still shaking their head that the Eskimos agreed to trade him in the off-season.
“Let’s put it this way I was pleased to hear the announcement of the trade,” Stampeders coach-GM John Hufnagel said dryly. “I saw enough of him in the green and gold.”
Glenn, a 12-year veteran, was brought to Calgary to mentor Drew Tate — and serve as an insurance policy. He has stepped in twice for the injured Tate this season and still has the keys to the Stampeder offence.
“Let’s face it, this guy’s a starting quarterback,” Toronto coach Scott Milanovich said of Glenn. “It was a great move by Calgary to have him there in case something happened to Drew. And when that happened, they didn’t miss a beat.
“Our guys have a ton of respect for Kevin, as do I. I’ve been beaten by him a number of times.”
Ray, 33, drove up his family from California to Toronto in his motorhome to start life as an Argonaut. He liked what he saw immediately at mini-camp.
“Everybody was ’Hey welcome back,’ giving each other hugs whether you were on offence or defence or special teams,” he recalled. “Lot of times when you play on teams, you kind of have the defensive guys and the offensive guys.
“And this team has been totally different. Everybody gets along regardless of what side you’re on and that’s what you’ve got to have to be able to do things like this.”
There was a learning curve in absorbing Milanovich’s offence. A mid-season knee injury didn’t help either. But since returning Oct. 19, he has thrown 11 TDs and just one interception in four games.
Thanks in large part to Ray, Toronto comes into the Grey Cup on a roll.
“We’ve had some steady quarterbacks who could make plays, but with Ricky Ray, you know you’re going to move the football,” said fullback Jeff Johnson. “In years past, that wasn’t a given. We knew our defence and special teams would be good, but we didn’t know if the offence would be firing on all cylinders. That’s not the case now.”
Glenn too has won over his new team since coming over in a January trade from Hamilton.
“Kevin’s the coolest, most laid-back guy there is,” said slotback Larry Taylor. “He’s never uptight, never taking things seriously. He’s the jokey-jokey type of guy and he’s loved by everybody. He doesn’t have any enemies or anything, he’s just a friendly guy.
“When you look at him, that’s what you sense and that’s what you pick up, the type of vibe you get from him. He’s just a friendly guy to be around.”
Milanovich sees a more dangerous Glenn, a veteran who can extend plays with his mobility and smarts.
“He gets so hot, he gets very streaky where he’ll hit 14 in a row,” the Toronto coach said.
Off the field, Glenn and his wife own two Tim Hortons franchises in the Detroit area.
“It was one of those things ’Hey I need to start letting my money make money for me,”’ he explained.
Glenn credits former teammates Eddie Davis (Saskatchewan) and Milt Stegall (Winnipeg) for helping him make the move from football player to entrepreneur.
“Those guys told me a lot about off the field football stuff, life after football and that was one of the reasons I got into the Tim Hortons thing so early,” he said.
Ray joined the Esks in 2002 and went to Grey Cups in 2002, 2003 and 2005, winning in ’03 and ’05.
“Early in my career I got spoiled,” he said of the playoff runs.
Glenn had to watch the 2007 championship game from the sidelines after breaking his arm in the East Division final. His Winnipeg team was beaten 23-19 by Saskatchewan at the Rogers Centre.
Now Tate has the broken arm and the five-foot-10 203-pound Glenn finally has a chance to start a Grey Cup. The Detroit native is savouring being on the big stage in the sport he loves.
“Words can’t explain how excited I am to enjoy this whole week,” he said.
“We should all be honest here,” he added. “We’re grown men but we’re playing a kid’s sport — because at one point in our life we were doing this for free just because we loved to do it. And I still have that kind of passion.”