March 4th, 2024

Canadian tight end Antony Auclair isn’t looking back after NFL retirement

By Frédéric Daigle, The Canadian Press on February 1, 2024.

Football player Antony Auclair, formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, announces his retirement from the NFL, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024 in Quebec City. Auclair says he took a year to ponder his future in football. Once he made his decision, he wasn't going to look back. Not even after a formal invitation from an NFL club. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

Antony Auclair took a year to ponder his future in football. Once he made his decision, he wasn’t going to look back. Not even after receiving a formal invitation from an NFL team.

“I had a tryout this fall with the Indianapolis Colts and it went really well,” said Auclair on Thursday, back home in Beauce, Que., after an emotional press conference at Laval University’s PEPS sports complex in the morning.

“They called me back during the holidays to say they were interested in signing me for 2024 just as I had announced to Sasha (Ghavami, his agent) that I would stop playing. It was like a test to see if my decision was firm. But I felt good with my decision, I wasn’t going backwards.”

The 30-year-old Auclair played a total of 56 NFL games, producing 15 receptions for 131 yards. He calls his lone touchdown the fondest memory of his career, even though he won the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021.

“It was such a beautiful moment,” he said. “To score a touchdown in the NFL, to have your name in the record books, and to see the support I received from all the Québécois people, my former teammates, my coaches. Of course, the Super Bowl isn’t far behind, but that play, I won’t forget it.”

Auclair became the second Québécois player to win the Super Bowl in 2021 after offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif won with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019. Duvernay-Tardif, 32, announced his retirement from the NFL last September.

After signing with the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent in 2017, Auclair wore the team’s uniform for four seasons.

The tight end then played for the Houston Texans in 2021 and 2022. However, numerous injuries, including a recent one to his knee, slowed his progression down.

He intends to give back to the Quebec football community by getting involved with the Laval University Rouge et Or. He’s also set up camps for young football players with his brother, a project he plans to implement throughout the province.

Happy with his decision, Auclair has only one regret from his time in the professional ranks.

“One thing I would have liked to do differently is take the time to appreciate the moment,” he said. “As an athlete, you always want to do more. Sometimes, all it takes is stepping back to relieve some pressure. We’re always unsatisfied, always wanting to do more. Sometimes, I think we could just take the time to appreciate it more.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 1, 2024.

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