Jeremiah Kose and Travon Van

Former Montana Grizzly football players Jeremiah Kose (48) and Travon Van are members of the Canadian Football League Grey Cup champion Ottawa Redblacks.

Courtesy of Jeremiah Kose twitter feed

Last weekend was nothing short of amazing for two pairs of former Montana football teammates.

You may have heard Missoula's Jordan Tripp earned his first start at linebacker for the formidable Seattle Seahawks defense. He filled in for injured Brock Coyle, a Bozeman native and Jordan's good friend from the Montana football team.

Not to be outdone, two of their teammates from the 2014 Grizzlies accomplished something that, while impressive, went largely under the radar.

Running back/kick returner Travon Van and linebacker Jeremiah Kose earned rings as members of the Canadian Football League Grey Cup champion Ottawa Redblacks. Both fought through injuries to maintain spots on the roster.

Van, who finished as the team's second-leading rusher and returned kickoffs in last Sunday's overtime win over coach Dave Dickenson's Calgary Stampeders, was sidelined twice with injuries this past season. Kose, who had several tackles after Ottawa signed him in late September, was forced to watch from the sideline with an injury.

Though their roles in the Grey Cup won't grab headlines, the fact remains: Kose and Van contributed for a champion on the professional level. How many other Grizzlies can you say that about?

"Honestly it's been unbelievable," Kose said. "You know the support and the fan base up here in Ottawa is just amazing. I mean, it's nothing compared to Griz Nation, but it's something special as well."

Kose, Van and their teammates were honored in a parade through downtown Ottawa on Tuesday, with 40,000 people braving the freezing rain and cold temps. Fifty years from now, they'll still be remembered as the heroes that gave Canada's capital city its first CFL trophy, ending four decades of suffering.

Not bad for a couple of buddies from balmy San Diego.

"It's awesome to be teammates with someone you recognize, someone you knew from college," Kose said. "When he came up to Montana we just built on that, being from the same area."

The last two months have been a whirlwind for Kose.

Landing with a pro franchise was exciting enough. Taking the Redblacks' ride into CFL immortality has been a priceless learning tool.

"It's pretty much what the other guys in the league have said all along, that it's hard work and nothing comes easy," he shared. "You have to come to work every day because it's a job. You have to make sure you perform your best."

Just one thing can make it better for Kose: Suiting up and playing for the defending champs next season.

"You don't want to be hurt, be on the sidelines," he said. "You don't want to see your teammates just grinding and playing as hard as they can while you're standing there.

"It definitely gives me more motivation to get better and make sure I'm ready for next season to help contribute how ever I can."

The CFL is not the ultimate goal for American-born football players. That would be the NFL.

But 20 years from now, when Jeremiah and Travon are regaling their kids with stories of their grid glory, you better believe those rings are coming out.

Bill Speltz may be reached at 523-5255 or

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