When news broke that talks were underway to bring regular-season NFL games to Montreal, Benjamin St-Juste was quick to dream of his Washington Commanders being featured there.
The Montreal cornerback’s second season in the NFL ended on January 8. The off-season got off to a strong start with this announcement of the possibility of International Series games at the Olympic Stadium.
In the hours following the publication of the news at the end of the week, St-Juste did not fail to come forward by responding to a tweet on Twitter.
“Washington Commanders in Montreal in 2024? he wrote quite simply.
In interview with The newspaper, St-Juste assured that he was not in the secret of the gods, but did not hide that he would be on cloud nine if the Commanders were called to move in his backyard.
» That would be great ! he exclaimed. I had no idea that was possible. I had heard that Toronto might be involved, but not Montreal. If that happens, I don’t know how many tickets we can buy, but I think I’ll get 150!
“There are plenty of people I know who don’t get to see me often. I’m the only starting player in the NFL who comes from Montreal, and who would have thought that one day I could have the chance to be in a game with us? It would be an incredible opportunity,” he continued.
When the NFL moves its household to London, Mexico City, or for the first time this season to Munich, the box office success is resounding.
St-Juste says he is convinced that the effect would be the same in the Quebec metropolis.
“I think it would work really well. When the NBA or Major League Baseball comes, the tickets sell out. I am convinced that it would be a big success, ”he opined.
Montreal is obviously a far cry from the 1980s, when the city dreamed of a full-time NFL club, but occasional games could only have a beneficial effect, according to the cornerback, who was trained in Cegep of Old Montreal.
« It’s a city where there are a lot of fans of the NFL who would like to see
We will probably never have the facilities and the resources to have a permanent team, but International Series games with the Commanders against the Bills, the Seahawks or the Vikings would be really good for the city and for Quebec football. » , he pleaded.
The only missing
In recent years, major league baseball has featured Toronto Jays preseason games at Olympic Stadium. The NBA did the same with the Raptors at the Bell Center.
“I remember every Raptors game when the NBA comes to Montreal. I always got tickets when I could. We have the Canadiens in Montreal, but the presence of the NFL is missing,” he said.
St-Juste expects to return home somewhere in May. On June 30 and July 1, it will hold the second edition of its annual football camp.
Giant steps in his journey
In his second season with the Commanders, Benjamin St-Juste has experienced a spectacular evolution and this is only the beginning, according to him.
“It was a great development season for me in terms of confidence, playing time and responsibility. There was a big jump from my first year to my second. My level of play was very different. It comes with experience and comfort in the playbook,” he said.
Before the season, the coaches had decided to move St-Juste inside, a new position for him, to which he adapted well.
Along the way, plans changed. Veteran William Jackson didn’t feel comfortable with the team’s defensive scheme and demanded a trade.
Against the best
To fill the gap on the outside in order to face the best opposing receivers, the Commanders turned to the Quebecer.
“I had the chance to play every week against the best receivers in the NFL. I performed very well and that’s because my team had confidence in me. My coaches put me in a position where I could show my talent every Sunday. That says a lot about my progress,” he said.
Better still, St-Juste says he is convinced that he has only demonstrated a part of his skills.
“What makes me most proud is that I’ve taken such a big step, but I know there’s so much more I can do. What people have seen this year at times is what I will be able to do next season every week,” he said.
St-Juste seemed to be progressing at a brisk pace when a sprained ankle forced him to miss five of the last six games of the season. He still finished with seven knockdowns, 42 tackles, two quarterback sacks and a forced fumble.
St-Juste is also encouraged by the progress of the team, which came close to the playoffs in the Eastern Division, where three of the four teams obtained their ticket.
The Commanders tied with the Giants and beat the Eagles and Cowboys half the time in this section.
“Our progress in defense has been significant. It’s promising for the next season. We are on the right track to reach the playoffs. »