This Alouettes instructor is the most Quebecois of Americans

This Alouettes coach is the most Quebecois of the Americans


If anyone is looking to illustrate what a good example of integration into a French-speaking community is, all they have to do is take a photo of Tyrell Sutton.

The 36-year-old American grew up in Ohio, a far cry from snow and poutine. His career as a ball carrier, however, led him to Montreal, where he played for the Alouettes from 2013 to 2018.

In the Quebec metropolis, he fell in love. The maxim is well known: “Who takes husband takes country”. In the case of Sutton, we must instead replace the “husband” by “wife”.

The one who wore number 20 with the Sparrows fell in love with Émilie Desgagné, who worked for the club at the time. The lovebirds tied the knot in 2019, when Sutton was playing for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. They returned to Montreal, their home, the following offseason and never moved again. At that time, Sutton still hoped to be able to play at least one more season in the CFL, but the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to that dream.

Today, he is back with the Alouettes as running backs coach. During the three years that separate these two moments, the Sutton-Desgagné family has grown and welcomed a little boy.

“This is my home!”< /p>

It was mainly because of the presence of this little human that Sutton decided to learn French.

“It's my home here! I wanted to speak the language. So I took an intensive three-month course in the fall,” he said in excellent French.

“It was mainly for my son, who will soon be 3 years old. He learns quickly. I want to be able to follow him and understand him.”

To hear Sutton express himself in French, it sounds like he has been speaking it for years. This is what the offensive coordinator, Anthony Calvillo, pointed out.

Like Sutton, “AC” is an American who has made Montreal his hometown and who has decided to learn the language of Molière.

“We have been here for so long. When I was playing, it was not a priority. When I hung up my shoulder pads, I thought it was time to get started, said the former Alouettes quarterback. My daughters went to school in French and my wife speaks four languages. I had no excuse.”

Calvillo was touched to know that he was an inspiration to Sutton in his goal to understand and speak the local language.

“It's important to lead by example,” he said. Last year, I spoke to our group of players quite quickly in French. I did this for two reasons. First to show the guys here that I'm trying. Secondly, I want to show newcomers that it is possible to learn French.”

A privilege

To come back to Sutton, the new follower du français feels very lucky to be able to begin his second career close to home.

“It's a privilege to be able to coach at home. I have the chance to make the leap into this profession, while remaining close to my family”, he pointed out, adding that he would not have imposed a move on his family, but that he would have accepted a coaching role elsewhere if the “Als” had not been interested in his services.

With his experience as a running back in the CFL, Sutton believes he has what it takes to allow William Stanback, Walter Fletcher and Jeshrun Antwi to find success in 2023.

And who knows? It may make them want to learn a few words in French.