Quebecers get ready to shine on the gridiron as the NFL season begins
Those looking for their fix of Quebec sports starts after the inspirational runs at the U.S. Open of Felix Auger-Aliassime and Leylah Annie Fernandez, can sink into a padded armchair swap their tennis shorts for football tights and tune into a quartet of NFL games Sunday afternoon as game one of the season starts today.
Below are football stars from la Belle Province, who made rosters on NFL squads this season.
Antony Auclair, TE, Houston Texans
The 6'6", 256-pound tight end from the small town of just over 1,200 people an hour south of Quebec City is the second Quebecer in two years to get a Super Bowl ring. Auclair took home the dazzling finger accessory with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year when he on the practice squad.
The Notre-Dame-des-Pins native played for Laval University's Rouge-et-Or and he signed with the Texans in April.
His brother Adam plays for the Ottawa RedBlacks.
Houston plays Jacksonville at 1 p.m.
Texans tight ends Ryan Izzo, left, and Antony Auclair, right, run a drill during NFL football practice Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Justin Rex)
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Guard, Kansas City Chiefs
If you haven't heard of the 6'5", 316-pound, Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, 2019 Super Bowl-winning doctor that went to McGill University and sat out last season to help in long-term care homes, you were not paying attention.
Duvernay-Tardif is back on the Chiefs' active roster looking to again protect the league's most expensive player: quarterback Patrick Mahomes ($45 million a year).
The Mont-Saint-Hilaire native enters his seventh year as an NFL pro.
Kansas City plays Cleveland at 4:25 p.m.
Kansas City Chiefs offensive guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (76) blocks during a preseason NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Los Angeles Aug. 20, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Rick Scuteri)
Pier-Olivier Lestage, Guard, Seattle Seahawks
The second guard on the list of NFL Quebecers, the 6'3", 312-pound rookie from Saint-Eustache will have to protect the fifth-most expensive player in the NFL: quarterback Russell Wilson ($35 million).
A stud O-lineman from the University de Montreal Carabins, Lestage could not host NFL scouts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so he went south to a pair of showcase events and turned more than a few heads.
Undrafted in the NFL entry draft (he was drafted by the Alouettes in the CFL draft), he signed with the Seahawks in the end.
Seattle plays Indianapolis at 1 p.m.May 2, 2021
Benjamin St-Juste, DB, Washington Football Team
The second rookie on the list and highest profile pick from la Belle Province this year, the 6'3", 200-pound University of Minnesota grad was picked by Washington picked in the third round (74th pick overall) in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Montreal native posted a 21 per cent forced incompletion rate in college which marked him third among 2021 rookie cornerbacks.
Washington plays San Diego at 1 p.m.
Washington Football Team cornerback Benjamin St-Juste (25) runs a drill during an NFL football rookie minicamp at Inova Sports Performance Center in Ashburn, Va., Saturday, May 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
Bruno LaBelle, TE, Arizona Cardinals
Montrealer Bruno Labelle was an undrafted rookie the Cardinals signed in June.
The 6'4", 247-pound is currently on the injured reserved list.
JJ Molson, K, Green Bay Packers
The kicker with ties to the Molson beer empire is on the Packers' practice squad and unlikely to replace first-choice kicker Mason Crosby.
He is the eighth generation descendant of John Molson that founded the brewery in 1786, and his grandfather was former Montreal Canadiens owner J. David Molson (1964-1971).
The 5'11", 180-pound UCLA grad signed with Green Bay in December.