Chris Streveler texted Dennis Gardeck on Wednesday asking about housing options in the Phoenix area.
Just one Crystal Lake guy helping out another since they now are NFL teammates.
Streveler, a 2013 Marian Central graduate, signed a reserve/future contract Tuesday with the Arizona Cardinals, then headed back to Denver, where he is staying with two college friends. Gardeck, a 2013 Crystal Lake South graduate, has been with the Cardinals for two seasons, making the team as an undrafted free agent linebacker out of NCAA Division II University of Sioux Falls (South Dakota).
This is the second time the two will be teammates.
“Dennis and I played Little League baseball together when we were 12 for the Lake in the Hills Thunder,” said Streveler, who plays quarterback. “It was funny. I hadn’t talked to Dennis since then, and a couple years ago, he shows up at South Dakota Pro Day because he had transferred to Sioux Falls.”
When Streveler went to Arizona for a recent workout, the two reconnected. Now, after spending two years with the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Streveler is getting his shot at the NFL.
“I am extremely excited about this opportunity,” Streveler said. “This is a childhood dream. When I went to the CFL, I didn’t really have the NFL on my mind that much. My mindset was really just to be the best CFL player I could be. I put my heart and soul into it and whatever happened, happened.”
Streveler (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) figured if he just did what he could and was the best teammate he could be, everything would take care of itself. The Blue Bombers won the CFL’s Grey Cup and Streveler earned tryouts with Arizona, Miami and Tampa Bay. It could have been more, but he was battling an ankle injury through the playoffs and was not healthy enough to work out until January.
Streveler’s speed at quarterback is often his best asset. He threw for 1,564 yards and eight touchdowns last season, and ran for 726 yards and 12 touchdowns. With the success the New Orleans Saints have had utilizing backup quarterback Taysom Hill in various special packages as a runner, receiver or passer, it helped open minds for Streveler.
“I’ve got a bit of a unique skill set that’s gained traction over the last few months with guys like Taysom Hill and guys playing quarterback doing different things,” Streveler said. “There’s a reason that stuff’s getting attention, because it’s had some success. I’m going to try to come in and be as versatile as possible and work as hard as I can to get as many opportunities as I can.”
Streveler was the Northwest Herald Football Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012. He redshirted as a freshman at Minnesota, played quartrerback the next season then moved to receiver.
Streveler finished his degree in three years and transferred to South Dakota, where he played quarterback for two more seasons and was one of the most productive Football Championship Subdivision offensive players in the nation.
Streveler is working out with trainer Tommy Flanagan while in Denver. At some time in mid-March, he will head to Phoenix.
“[Organized team activities] start around April 20,” Streveler said. “I’ll get out there early, get around the building and get acclimated. I couldn’t be happier with the way things worked out and where I ended up signing. This is a great fit and an outstanding opportunity.
“Arizona primarily wanted me as a quarterback, which was appealing to me. I feel like that’s the position I love and have the most confidence at. I told them whatever I needed to do to get on the field and get opportunities, I’ll do it. They’re excited about me playing quarterback and I’m excited about that as well.”