VANCOUVER -- It's been a year of firsts for Sagkeeng's T-Dre Player:
First member of the Manitoba First Nation to be drafted into the CFL. First professional football game as an offensive lineman for the B.C. Lions. And first touchdown -- ever -- when he lined up as a tight end in Week 1 and hauled in a three-yard pass from Kevin Glenn.
"It's been fun. I love playing here, I love playing in the CFL and just the atmosphere," Player said Thursday. "I find it fun. I want to be here for a long, long time in the CFL."
The son of a former University of Winnipeg basketball player from Oklahoma named Paul Player and a Sagkeeng woman, Corinne Fontaine-Player, T-Dre lived in Winnipeg until he was about seven before moving to Dallas with his family. He went on to a standout career at Northwestern University in Louisiana, which is where the Lions spotted him and loved what they saw, drafting him 12th overall in May's CFL draft.
"It's a homecoming. It's nice to be back in the country," Player said this week, adding he's never lost his Manitoba roots despite living in the U.S. for most of his life.
"I always kept in touch with them, even being down in the South. Even though they're extended family, I feel like they're the closest to my immediate family... I always took time to visit in the summer, I tried to escape the winters. But me and my mom would go visit every two summers or so, try and take a couple weeks out and visit as much family as we could."
Glenn: It's like dating
BC Lions QB Kevin Glenn is playing for his fifth CFL team this season in a 14-year career.
He says each time, it's like getting to know a new woman.
"It's just like you being in a relationship. The more you go out on dates and the more you go to movies and the more you go out to dinner, you start to figure out what she's going to order. You can order it for her before she orders it.
"It's kind of the same thing with the receivers. I can almost figure out how they're going to run a route before they run a route. The more you play with them, the more you practise with them, the more balls you throw to them."
Fun with statistics
The West Division leads 10-2 over the East Division in intra-division matchups this season. The last time the East won the season series was in 2004... Average combined net offence per game this season through the first four weeks was 656 yards. That's a 10 per cent decline since 2011... That 18-17 Ottawa win over Toronto last week was the first time a CFL team won a regular season game without scoring a touchdown since Montreal beat BC 16-12 on July 16, 2010 on the strength of four field goals, a safety and two singles. Ottawa won with six field goals courtesy of place-kicker Brett Maher... Of the 17 coach's challenges through the first four weeks of this season, seven resulted in calls being overturned.