The Alouettes’ first choice in the last Canadian draft arrived at the team’s offices on Thursday morning at Olympic Stadium. Not because he had to, but because Jonathan Sutherland chose to introduce himself, without being asked.

Danny Maciocia couldn’t believe it.

“Since I’ve been doing this job, this is the first time I’ve seen it,” explained the Montreal general manager. He’s a drafted player who has a contract with an NFL team, but he got in his car to drive this morning because he wanted to meet the world here. It kind of shows the kind of guy he is…”

Maciocia talked about that bit for a long time on that rather jolly Thursday morning in the club’s offices: yes, Jonathan Sutherland is quite a player, but he’s also a top human being. “With him, we will win on the pitch, but off the pitch too,” added the GM.

Members of the media and Alouettes employees therefore met this 24-year-old young man who, indeed, seems to have the values ​​in the right place, who sprinkles his answers with “yes sir!” respectful, who knows where he comes from and where he is going.

In the immediate future, he will go to Seattle, where the Seahawks granted him a priority free agent contract, he who was ignored in the last NFL draft.

Since this type of contract is subject to bonuses (like a $10,000 signing bonus, in this case) and there are no guarantees, the Alouettes are clinging to a scenario where Sutherland could be holed up by the Seahawks and end up here somewhere at the end of the summer. “If that happens, he told us he would be in Montreal in the following days,” added Maciocia, who recalled that other members of the Alouettes, including Marc-Antoine Dequoy and Pier-Olivier Lestage, have experienced similar experiences not so long ago.

In the meantime, Sutherland will be in Seattle on Thursday for a three-day rookie camp, and will then spend almost a month there while attending the club’s pre-camp. The official Seahawks camp is expected to open in late July.

“I’m very happy, I’ve been playing football since I was 8 years old, and I’ve always wanted to make it to the professional ranks, whether it’s the CFL or the NFL, explained the native of Ottawa. So to have this chance is a blessing… I wanted to show up here to show my appreciation. It has always been a dream for me to become a professional player, and I am aware that many other players would like to be in my shoes. »

This scenario, Jonathan Sutherland has been dreaming about it for a long time. He left home at the age of 15 to finish high school for three years at a high school in Virginia, to increase his chances of being recruited by a big American college football program. He won his bet when the prestigious Penn State appealed to him, and he wore the famous blue jersey of the Nittany Lions for five seasons.

At Penn State, he wore number 0, a number you don’t give just anyone.

“Four years ago, Penn State made it a tradition, wanting to give this number to a special teams member who always sacrificed himself,” he explained. So it was an honor to be chosen by my teammates to wear it, and also to be the first to wear it. »

The young man, whose mother is Montrealer, is obviously very happy to find himself at the time of decisions. Seattle or Montreal, both would do just fine for him. “I feel good here, and my mom is from here…but I’ll just control what I can control.” »

No problem, the Alouettes will wait.

“We’re going to be patient,” concluded Danny Maciocia. He could join our team immediately. He can play as a linebacker, as a safety, and he gives us flexibility. If it doesn’t work there, he’ll come right away. For us, it’s a calculated risk…”