Oh, Canada!

December 24th, 2017

NFL snowbird. (Photo courtesy of Buccaneers.com.)

One of the coolest stories to come around in years for the Bucs is the blossoming of tight end Antony Auclair.

As most Bucs fans know, Auclair played Canadian college football. Joe reached out to an NFL type wondering what level of football that is like. Joe guessed maybe 1-AA or perhaps Division-II. Joe was corrected that basically, the level of play in Canada for college football is like a good high school team in America. Overall, Joe was told, it’s not even Division-III level.

The same source told Joe that Division-III guys make the NFL each year but rarely do you see anyone who has played college football in Canada break through. That’s why Auclair is a cool story. He’s had to overcome a whole lot.

First, Auclair was a rookie free agent and the Bucs picked him up at an already loaded position. Yet he seemed to surpass Alan Cross on the depth chart initially (remember, Cross was cut earlier this season but brought back. Auclair was never cut). Then, Auclair had to adapt to a new country. Yes, he’s bilingual hailing from French-speaking Quebec. Auclair has no real issue speaking English but if you talk to Auclair it is clear French is his first language.

Then, like anyone from Canada, Auclair had to adjust to the Florida heat. That’s rough enough for guys from Alabama much less Quebec.

“Antony is a good story. He is an excellent story,” Koetter told Joe Friday. “From the first time we saw him on Canadian tape and then when we saw him over at the East-West Shrine game [at the Fruitdome in St. Petersburg] and saw him at practice over there – then after we drafted O.J. we were thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, we are never going to get this guy to come as a free agent.’

“We had a draft grade on him, so [he] is a huge bonus. We love our tight ends and we love tight ends who can do multiple things. For a guy that has made the transition from going from how they play in Canada to how they play here, he is a good student, works at it, tries [and] plays physical. He had a couple nice plays last week where he finished right to the whistle. You can usually tell a guy that finishes by if the other team is taking a swipe at him after the play. That usually means he is a good finisher. We are real happy with Antony.”

Auclair is sort of a poor man’s version of O.J. Howard in that he can block and catch. Joe caught up with Auclair just after the Green Bay game where he made his first NFL reception.

“My first goal was to play a game,” Auclair said. “My second goal was to catch a pass.”

When Joe asked him if he was surprised to be on an NFL team when so few from Canada make it, he shrugged it off.

“I have been told if you are good, the NFL is going to find you,” Auclair said. “Wherever you are and wherever you play, the NFL is going to find you.”

With Howard out for the year and Cam Brate banged up with a sore knee, don’t be shocked if Auclair gets more snaps in these final two games.

6 Responses to “Oh, Canada!”

  1. AlteredEgo Says:

    We won’t to be drafting TE your years !

  2. mark2001 Says:

    Joe…and this time of year, Canada is a “very cool” story…like -20 degrees cool at night. And you can bet Anthony knows it…best of both worlds…in January when the season is over, he can go back home and snowmobile, ice fish, whatever, and then back to Florida.

    But seriously, look at our O…Godwin, Auclair, Howard, along with the other vets? The future is so bright with the right coach and play calling that, we might have to wear sunglasses.

  3. NFLNut Says:

    We have the best “young group” of receivers and TE’s in the NFL right now with Evans, Godwin, Hump, Brate, OJ … and even Auclair!

    We just need defense, defense, defense!

  4. Lakeland Says:


    Now that’s funny

  5. Lakeland Says:

    Los Angeles Rams WRs and TEs

    Robert Woods 25
    Sammy Watkins 24
    Cooper Kupp 24
    Josh Reynolds 22
    Tyler Higbee 24
    Gerald Everett 23

    Add 23 year old Todd Gurley, 23 year old Jared Goff
    There’s not a young group in the NFL
    That’s even close to this group

  6. Solinor Says:

    I’ll be excited when he does something.