Glen Constantin has always had high expectations of his players, both former and current. Never, however, has he allowed himself to dream of seeing one of his foals make it to the Super Bowl. Antony Auclair becomes the first Rouge et Or football product to reach this pinnacle with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and his former head coach is pinching himself to believe it.
The tight end, who wore the colors of the Laval University program from 2013 to 2016, is in his fourth season in the NFL. He will be only the sixth native of Quebec to take part in the Super Bowl, on February 7, in Tampa. Last year, it was Kansas City Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif who achieved the rare feat.
“We’re going to preach a bit for our parish, but it shows our young players here that anything is possible, and even from our programs in Canada. It takes guys like Antony and Laurent to pave the way for the next ones. The more successful guys we have, the more opportunities will arise, ”said Constantin, the day after the Buccaneers won over the Green Bay Packers.
The big boss of the Rouge et Or has long been proud to set the bar high for his men. In his eyes, what Auclair is about to experience is beyond comprehension.
“I always said to myself that for the Rouge et Or program, I wanted to see players reach milestones. Initially, I dreamed of seeing one of my guys win an individual honor at the Canadian level. Sending a first player (Carl Gourgues) to the East-West Shrine Bowl was also a big step for me.
“You want to see your guys break into the pro ranks and when Antony did it in the NFL it was already amazing. Just to imagine it at the Super Bowl, it’s beyond all my dreams. It couldn’t even be on my list, it’s so big, ”Constantin jubilates.
A good teammate
During his three playoff games, Auclair was unfortunately not selected among the 47 players in uniform, even if he is part of the regular roster of 53 players every day.
Critics who constantly feel the need to blackout might conclude that he is not contributing to his team’s success. Yet it is quite the opposite and his contribution to training remains important. Its role in this context consists in particular in reproducing the tendencies of an adversary who evolves in his position.
“Whether he’s in uniform or not, he learns the game plan like everyone else and gives the coaches good looks. I know what it is and it allows us to work better.
Of course he is disappointed not to play lately, but he understands his role and he is a good teammate, ”said Constantin.
Experience to savor
It is too early to know if Auclair will have the opportunity to set foot in the big duel against the Chiefs. Under the circumstances, his former coach remains a good advice.
“I told Antony that whatever his role he has to do it to the best of his ability and that he has no control over the rest. It is imperative that he makes the most of the experience and that he is full of memories for life.
“There are star players in this league, even Hall of Fame members, who never had the chance to experience the Super Bowl. I couldn’t be more proud of him, ”Constantine concluded.
Under his orders, Antony Auclair has twice lifted the Vanier Cup. It is now the Vince-Lombardi Trophy that is within the grasp of the one who has played 40 games in the NFL to date.