It is in front of his new supporters that Pier-Olivier Lestage will celebrate his 25e birthday, Thursday evening. New to the Alouettes, the offensive lineman should be in uniform in a reserve role.
Posted yesterday at 4:18 p.m.
A former University of Montreal Carabins, Lestage spent the 2021 season with the Seattle Seahawks practice squad. Released by the Seahawks a few weeks ago, the Quebecer joined the Alouettes, who had made it 10e 2021 CFL draft prospect.
For the moment, the former psychology and sociology student is familiarizing himself with his new playbook and his new environment.
“It’s going really well. I don’t know everything yet, but I would say that I assimilate the playbook quite quickly. I think I’ve mastered the basics. I was already much more comfortable on my second day of training [lundi] than during my first [dimanche].
I know so many guys in the team, both players and coaches, that integration is easy.
Lestage was notably the teammate of Marc-Antoine Dequoy and Régis Cibasu with the Carabins, in addition to having been managed by Danny Maciocia, who drafted him about fifteen months ago.
“He is a player who will have a say in our success. He’ll have a whole career here in Montreal,” predicted Maciocia, who will likely use his new player sporadically until he’s gotten even better acquainted with the club’s offensive system.
“He didn’t have a training camp and he has to learn our playbook, but we will use him in certain formations,” explained the general manager and interim head coach.
According to Luc Brodeur-Jourdain, offensive line coach, learning about his new colt shouldn’t take long.
“His technique is very good, so you can see that he has worked well on his football. He has a stable base and he knows how to distribute his weight well. He also has good integrity in how he takes on the defensive player. But it is his ability to assimilate information that is, for me, the most striking factor since he arrived with the team. »
A plan B that makes him happy
Things ended abruptly for Lestage with the Seahawks, but he will have fond memories of his time with the Northwest team.
“Even though I was cut, I’m happy with the year I spent in Seattle, I learned a lot and I met some amazing people. It was a very enriching experience.
To have been able to survive my first training camp with the Seahawks and to have spent a year in Seattle, I think it’s a victory for me. I know there aren’t many players who have played Canadian college football who have managed to do that.
The Seahawks didn’t really give Lestage an explanation for his dismissal. Younger offensive linemen joined the team, and the Quebecer suspects that this is ultimately what led to his departure.
“I knew it and 15 minutes later, I was no longer in the building,” he said.
“I just want to play football”
Lestage hasn’t put an end to his dream of playing in the NFL, even if he would be delighted to have a career in the CFL
“After every season in the CFL, there is a window of opportunity where players can chat with NFL teams. Of course, if there are good opportunities that arise, I will study them. The NFL is the best league in the world, and we all want to play with the best.
“But if that doesn’t work out, I can see myself having a career in the CFL. I just want to play football and if I do it in Montreal, I will be very happy. This is where my family and friends are, so I’m super happy to be here. »
Several relatives and friends of Lestage will attend Thursday night’s game between the Alouettes and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. It’s unlikely their favorite player will see much playing time in his first CFL game, but it’s likely only a matter of time before he becomes an important cog in the offensive line.