Catch Up with the Jets Legend from Houston Jim Gehman
One way or another, it seemed that Glenn Cadrez was going to begin his NFL career in the AFC East when he came out of the University of Houston in 1992.
"I had gone to Buffalo twice. I sat in Marv Levy's office and he had a piece of paper and showed me that I was going to be his sixth-round pick. (ESPN's Draft analyst) Mel Kiper had already said, 'Oh, you're going to Buffalo.' Everyone was like, 'You're going to Buffalo.' So I thought I was going to Buffalo," Cadrez said.
"And then the morning of the Draft, I get a call from the Miami Dolphins. They said, 'We're taking you in the sixth round.' I look at the ticker and I'm like, 'Oh, they're nine picks away.' So I hang up and about 10, 15 minutes later, the phone rings. And I'm like, 'Oh, this is the Dolphins,' and it was, 'Hey, Pete Carroll, New York Jets. We just drafted you.' I was like, 'What?!?' I didn't even work out for them. Yeah, so there I was drafted in the same conference by the Jets, and I thought I was going to Buffalo or Miami."
Playing at defensive end in his last two years at Houston, the Jets planned for Cadrez to be a linebacker even though they drafted Kurt Barber in the second round, and Keo Coleman in the fourth round, before him.
"I mean, again, I was surprised that they even drafted me," Cadrez said. "I didn't know anything about the Jets. I didn't even know anyone on the team. And then I get there and it was like, 'Oh, yeah, there's two linebackers ahead of me.' So it was all a shock.
"You assume that if you're going to make the team, you're going to make it on special teams. That's how you're going to get your chance. And that's exactly what it was for me. I think I was fourth on the depth chart when we went to mini-camp, and then by training camp, I worked my way up to I think the third-team outside linebacker. But I was really exceptional on special teams."
Cadrez was also exceptional in the preseason opener, the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, against Philadelphia. He helped the Jets win, 41-14, not only by playing well on defense, but by also finding the end zone after intercepting Eagles quarterback David Archer, and returning the ball 73 yards for a touchdown. His first since a Pop Warner football game 10 years earlier.
"The day before our first game, Pete (Carroll) said, 'Listen, we're going to move you from Sam to Will,'" Cadrez said. "And I was like, 'I haven't played Will this whole camp.' 'Yep. Well, you're going to do it. Mo's (Lewis) only playing a few series.'
"So I was just hectically studying, cramming the night before. I wrote all the plays on my arm-type thing and got out there at Will and, luckily, got a 73-yard interception and took it to the house.
"And then it was kind of like, well, he's already on all the first-teams on special teams. And now you're Mo's backup. That was kind of how I made the team."
Impressed by his speed and athletic ability, the Jets kept Cadrez second on the depth chart at Will, or weak side linebacker, and playing on all the special teams. He was contributing, but wanted to do more.
"It was what it was. I mean, it was just football. Blocking, tackling, running," Cadrez said. "I was a really smart player, so I didn't make any mistakes and I just kind of did my job. But it wasn't what I wanted to do. I wanted to, obviously, play linebacker."
Frustrated, Cadrez felt he would have a better opportunity elsewhere.
"I asked to be released in '94, and then they got rid of Pete (Carroll) and brought in (Rich) Kotite (to be the new head coach)," Cadrez said. "So I continued to ask, and they said, 'We'll see how these rookies play out and then get back to you.' So they waited three games into the (1995) season and then released me."
Cadrez was signed by Denver eight days after he was released by New York on the recommendation of Broncos defensive coordinator Greg Robinson, who had the same position with the Jets in 1994.
With the Green & White for three seasons and one game, what are among Cadrez's fondest memories from his time with New York?
"Well, that's the team that gave me the opportunity to play pro, so I'll always have a special admiration for that. They gave me a shot," he said. "That preseason game was obviously a big game. I mean, in your first game to take the third play and take it 73 yards for a touchdown, that was awesome.
"I had some good friends there. Me and Mo still talk. I have a lot of friends that I met outside of football there. Living in the great city of New York and all that, it was an experience for a young guy."
With the Broncos for six years, Cadrez helped them win back-to-back Super Bowls. The second, XXXIII, as the starting middle linebacker, before retiring following the 2002 season with the Kansas City Chiefs.
"The Super Bowls are something that anyone can look at and say, 'Wow, that's a huge accomplishment.' And it is. I absolutely am very proud of the years, especially the second year, having the year I had. I put up some good stats. It kind of really proved to me that I belonged and I could play at a high level in this league," Cadrez said.
"But one thing is over my career, 11 years, that's 11 training camps that I went through and I made every team. I never got cut. I mean, I was released by the Jets, but again, I was begging for that since '94. But going through training camps and dealing with all the top college players and all the free agents coming in trying to get your job and not being able to, that kind of longevity, that's a pretty impressive stat when you have been in the league for a long time.
"I have much respect for guys that have played the years that they played. Like a (Tom) Brady, to me, it's just unfathomable. It's unbelievable when I see guys playing 12, 15 years."
Living in the Southern Cal wine country of Temecula, Cadrez has three daughters: Tahnee, Caylee, and Phoebee; two sons: Keaton and Kannon; and a granddaughter: Gemma.
He is a real estate developer, and for the last year and a half, has been working on a project in his hometown, El Centro, CA.
"I've got a 27-acre piece that I'm developing," Cadrez said. "I've been involved in other projects, but I'm really excited about this one. It's a development with EV chargers, a truck stop-type of thing, a restaurant, a store and tiny homes. I've had some houses that I flipped and I had some different ranches I flipped, but, yeah, this is the one that I'm keeping.
"(What I enjoy most about what I'm doing is) the fact that it gives me freedom to coach my kids and hang out with my kids. I do a lot of third party hiring and it's not something that I have to put a lot of time in. It gives me the freedom to travel and do what I want."