SIOUX FALLS- Seventeen days after winning the big game, Chris Streveler is still celebrating the Grey Cup Championship in style.
“Honestly, probably the craziest week of my life without a doubt. It was so unreal, just stuff that I don’t know if I will ever experience. People were literally like crying and stuff, going crazy when we won, it was awesome,” said Streveler.
Many of his teammates returned to their hometowns to start their off-season, but this 24-year-old’s first stop was the place that gave him a second chance at the game he loves.
“So to think that just two or three years later I’m sitting here saying that I love South Dakota and this is the first place I stop after a six-seven month long season. I never thought I would be here, but I wouldn't change anything about it, I love it,” said Streveler.
Five years ago before guiding the Blue Bombers to their first Gray Cup in 29 years, Streveler almost hung up the cleats on his football career as he was struggling to solidify a roster spot at the University of Minnesota. After starting his collegiate career with the Gophers, Chris was being moved around to other offensive positions including tight end, running back, and wide receiver.
“Do I just kind of bide my time and be done with football? Or do I go somewhere else and give the football thing one last shot and do my graduate school? One of the hardest decisions I ever had to make, but I felt like I was just kind of gambling on myself to make it work out,” said Streveler.
In time it did work out, that next call in Chris’ career was answered 300 miles away in Vermillion, South Dakota.
“Vermillion was actually my first visit I took and the only visit I ended up taking just because I loved it so much and just the idea of getting to play quarterback, I couldn’t have made a better decision,” said Streveler.
Streveler led the Coyotes to an 8-5 record in 2017, while guiding the program to their first ever FCS playoff appearance.
“It’s still one of the things that I’m most proud of in my career. You go 4-7 the year before, people are definitely doubting you about what you can do and to go to the playoffs and win a game. It’s one of the things I’m most proud of to be kind of part of getting that culture heading in the right direction there,” said Streveler.
Following his college career, Streveler was offered a chance for a next step in the Candian Football League in Winnipeg. He started his professional career as a backup quarterback, but after injuries Chris quickly found himself as the starter and later becoming the main rushing quarterback, splitting game time with the starter. After solidifying his position at quarterback, Chris’ versatility has also been shown on the field, even playing wide receiver.
“Whatever my role was going into a game, it was different from week to week, but I was always thankful for every opportunity that I got. Obviously down the stretch in the playoffs, getting as many opportunities as I did, I’m just so thankful to help the team in whatever way I could,” said Streveler.
No doubt Streveler’s journey has been unique, but the journey is his. While there has been a detour here and there, it has worked out the way he hoped.
“I’m living my dream right now, that’s the bottom line. As a young kid I wanted to play professional football and I get to do that, and win a championship, like that’s my dream,” said Streveler.
Chris is currently a free agent in the CFL and hopes to continue playing next season whether it been that league or maybe one day in the NFL. He will spend the off season in Denver and train there to prepare him for wherever he plays next. As for the inspiration for the fur coat and cowboy hat look during the Grey Cup celebration, Streveler says that is something he came up with himself and it worked for the cold in Winnipeg.