Something inside Marcus Thigpen told him he wasn’t done playing football.
It nagged at him since he left the NFL two years ago.
He started running track again with his high school coach in Detroit and considered competing at the master’s level until one fateful day on social media.
Thigpen was scrolling through his Instagram feed and saw that Kevin Glenn had hit a career milestone. Thigpen’s longing to return to the game intensified and he reached out to the Riders quarterback saying he wanted to start playing again.
That conversation put the ball in motion to get Thigpen back to the CFL. Glenn went to head coach Chris Jones and the Riders assistant vice president of football operations John Murphy to tell them Thigpen was available if they were interested.
Jones was stunned.
“You got to be kidding me,” was the reaction Jones said he had when Glenn approached him.
Truth was, Jones had been interested in Thigpen for a while but didn’t know he wanted to come back.
The rest happened pretty quickly.
“We brought him in, it wasn’t very long for us to see that he had some juice,” Jones said.
Thigpen was put to use almost right away. He went in as the return man in Hamilton in September but was injured.
And while it was a setback to his comeback, Thigpen didn’t miss a beat when the opportunity came in the eastern semi-final.
His 15 carries for 169 yards and a touchdown is the third best playoff performance for a running back in Roughrider history.
“I know as soon as we’re done I might just go in there and pout a little bit,” Thigpen said after the game, fittingly donning a Superman t-shirt. “Just happy tears to be in the position I’m in right now to come back from being at home for two years and being able to have the success that I’m having right now is definitely a blessing.”
Thigpen’s 75-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was easily the turning point in the playoff game.
“That was definitely the spark, I knew that Ottawa didn’t want to play with us anymore after that because we were going to keep on coming with it,” linebacker Samuel Eguavoen said. “That was really the spark plug right there.”
“He’s a smooth criminal man,” Eguavoen added with a chuckle. “That boy can run the route. I’m glad he’s here, we had to get him up off that couch and get him out here. I’m glad he’s here now though.”
But Thigpen was quick to pass accolades off to his offence line and to his teammates. He said the whole game went according to plan.
“We had a great week of preparation. A lot of extra meetings with the offensive line and everything just kind of slowed down when I got out there. I was seeing the holes loud and clear.”
“I saw nothing but daylight,” he continued. “I knew I still got a little speed, I got a little juice in these legs left so I ran as fast as I could and got the score.”
Now that the team is one win away from the Grey Cup, Thigpen is even more motivated. Not just for him, but for Glenn who got him back into football.
“I want to win a Grey Cup for him. I’ve never won a championship in football in my life and I want it as bad as he does. That’s one of our motivations is to get him a Grey Cup, he deserves it,” Thigpen said.
The Roughriders return to the practice field in Ottawa on Wednesday.
The team tweeted a video from the locker room after the game, when Thigpen was awarded the game ball.
— Saskatchewan Roughriders (@sskroughriders) November 13, 2017