Foot soldiers renew rivalry

The Calgary Stampeders picked up Ron Johnson a month ago, have prepped him for action and he will...

The Calgary Stampeders picked up Ron Johnson a month ago, have prepped him for action and he will take fullback Tony Ficklin's spot on the roster this week. (File Photo)

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

Nearly a decade ago, Ron Johnson would always put up better numbers than Kevin Glenn.

Football was just a hobby then.

Johnson and Glenn were instead competing for sales stats at a Foot Locker in Detroit.

"You could ask him," said Johnson, the Calgary Stampeders receiver.

"I was the No. 1 salesperson there. The way Foot Locker was back then, whoever sold the shoes would get whatever the person buys on his list (for commission). If they bought shirts and socks, the whole bill would go towards us.

"He will probably try to lie but there's a sheet out there somewhere that will prove I'm No. 1."

Back in 1997 when Johnson and Glenn, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback, were playing high school football in Detroit, they became friends while working for Johnson's uncle.

They stayed buddies through college and the pros so it's fitting Johnson will play his first CFL game against Glenn's Bombers tomorrow at McMahon Stadium (7 p.m.).

Glenn is a year older than Johnson but they managed to cross paths when the quarterback went to Illinois State and the receiver went to Minnesota. After college, Glenn landed in the CFL while Johnson spent four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens.

The Stamps picked up the 26-year-old Johnson a month ago, have prepped him for action and he will take fullback Tony Ficklin's spot on the roster this week.

Neither Johnson or Glenn has had to sell shoes to make ends meet lately but the receiver said it wasn't like that anyway.

The two would turn each day into a competition and would battle for customers. Bragging rights were on the line even when they were wearing the same uniform -- black and white stripes, of course.

"When you have everybody in the same store that knows each other, you have a lot more leniency as to what you could do. We didn't need the money so we worked for fun."

Johnson should add a spark to a Stamps offence that put up only 214 net yards against Edmonton Friday. The 6-ft. 2-in., 225-pounder provides a big target for QB Henry Burris and he has made several beauty catches in practice over the past few weeks.

The only thing keeping him from a great debut would be a team quarterbacked by his old co-worker and friend.

So forgive him if he isn't rooting for Glenn this week, although he will offer to take him for dinner.

"It's like any rivalry -- you want him to do well but you still have your own goals. If he does well and we win, that's the best thing. If he throws four interceptions, that's OK with me."


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