One year after playing against each other in Quebec University football, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and David Foucault find themselves in the NFL.
Sun Media’s John Kryk recently caught up with both players, who he calls ‘le due dynamique’ (full piece available here) http://www.portagedailygraphic.com/2014/11/29/unheralded-canadians-living-dream-as-nfl-rookies
“He’s such a good guy. I’m so happy for him,” Duvernay-Tardif, who is with the Kansas City Chiefs and has stayed in touch with Foucault via email and Facebook, told Kryk. “It’s a big thing for an undrafted Canadian free agent to start at left tackle in the NFL.”
Kryk writes that Duvernay-Tardif, a tackle-turned-guard from Montreal’s McGill University, first turned NFL heads late in this year’s pre-draft process. In root speed, athleticism and power drills, the 6-foot-5, 315-pounder had few O-linemen equals even south of the border.
The Kansas City Chiefs selected Duvernay-Tardif in the sixth round. He is on KC’s 53-man roster this season but has yet to dress for a game.
David Foucault is a 6-foot-8, 305-pound tackle from the now Vanier Cup champion University of Montreal.
According to Kryk Foucault’s agent helped get him into a pair of “regional” scouting combines late last winter (regional combines are for those players left out of the NFL’s main draft combine), which led to some calls from NFL teams after the draft.
After the draft the Panthers, Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins called. Foucault chose Carolina.
As Kryk writes, no one expected either Quebecer to play this season, as they recalibrated their minds and bodies to face the massive upgrades in speed and power, compared to what they saw against the likes of Sherbrooke, Concordia and Bishop’s last season.
While Tardif has yet to dress for a game, Foucault has seen action in several games, and even started one.
“I never even expect to make the roster for this year,” Foucault told Kryk in a phone interview. “I was very stressful all through that week, and I pushed myself. I was very nervous and excited, because I made it — my first starting NFL game.”
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera felt Foucault was ready for the assignment, which came against New Orleans on a Thursday night in early November.
“He’s getting a feel for the speed of our game,” head coach Ron Rivera said on Panthers.com. “It’s a little different coming from the college ranks in Canada. He’s getting better and better. We really believe he’s taken big steps.”
Foucault was also philosophical about the start, focusing on gaining experience.
“I played well for a part. It’s just at the end my body was a little bit tired, and New Orleans put a lot of pressure (on my) side,” Foucault told Kryk. “My coaches, they talk to me afterwards and said, ‘You worked hard, and you did what you were supposed to do. This is more experience for you, and you’ll get better.”
“After the season, we (he and Tardif) will take a beer somewhere and just talk about everything,” Foucault said. “Two guys from Quebec to make the NFL. It’s a big deal.”
Tardif hopes this ‘big deal’ has ripple effects.
“I just hope that in two, three years people will say, ‘Hey, those two Canadians did well, and brought more NFL scouts up to Canada,’” Duvernay-Tardif told Kryk. “That’s my goal. That’s what motivates me to get better every day.”