It’s about time: Thomas Erlington ready to be involved with Alouettes

When running back Sean Thomas Erlington signed with his hometown team last week, the first call he made was to the biggest Alouettes fan he knew.

“I definitely shot a text message to my close family members like my mom, dad and sister, but the first phone call I made was to my grandad,” the 31-year-old explained. “He followed me throughout my whole career. Even when I was in Hamilton, he was rooting for me – sometimes a little less when it was against the Alouettes (laughs). He’s a huge Alouettes fan, and I remember going and watching games with him when I was younger. I knew it would make him really, really happy, so I let him know.”

Pierre Thomas, Thomas Erlington’s grandfather, purchased the official 110th Grey Cup Championship hat after the Als defeated the Bombers on Nov. 19. He made a point of showing it to his grandson, who was still with the Ticats at the time.

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“I was like: ‘ew, why are you showing me that. I don’t want to see it (laughs),’” recalled Thomas Erlington. “And then when I called him, I was like: ‘you’ll be able to wear that cap with joy and I don’t mind you showing it to me anymore’. He put two and two together, and he knew I signed with them.”

After six seasons in Hamilton with the Tiger-Cats, Thomas Erlington, who grew up in Laval, decided it was time to come back to his home province.

“Going back to Hamilton was still an option,” he said. “For me personally, without having discussions with anybody else, once Stanback left and was asked to be released, I thought to myself that it would be the perfect timing to come and join the team.”

When free agency opened on Feb. 13 at noon, he inked a one-year contract with his new team. For most athletes, adjusting to a new environment takes some time, but Thomas Erlington’s situation is anything but typical.

During his time with the University of Montreal, where he won a Vanier Cup in 2014, Thomas Erlington played for and worked with several current members of the Alouettes organization including general manager Danny Maciocia, assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Byron Archambault, assistant GM Pier-Yves Lavergne, as well as players Frederic Chagnon, Louis-Philippe Bourassa, Marc-Antoine Dequoy, and Regis Cibasu.

After finishing up his USports career with the Carabins, he was eventually drafted in the eighth and final round of the 2017 CFL Draft. He isn’t bitter about where he was selected, and even though the Alouettes passed on him on eight separate occasions that year, Thomas Erlington insists he never felt any ill will towards the organization for overlooking him.

“I never had any expectations (that Montreal would select me),” Thomas Erlington, who watched the CFL Draft at the CEPSEUM with most draft-eligible prospects from the Carabins, said. “Playing for Montreal was always something I wanted to do, but I never asked myself ‘how could they pass on me?’ Maybe if Danny (Maciocia) was there at that time, I would’ve been like ‘come on, Danny, you’re really passing on me (laughs)?’

“I really just wanted a shot (in the CFL). As the rounds went by, rounds six, seven and eight, I never had my hopes down, but all I was asking for was an opportunity.”

Last season, the Alouettes dressed just one Canadian running back. Jeshrun Antwi had 50 touches on offence over 18 games (fewer than 3 touches per game), and it’s difficult to envision his role being reduced. But the team didn’t bring veteran fullback James Tuck back (he signed with Hamilton), which means that there could be additional snaps & touches available for Thomas Erlington and Antwi.

“I want to be in a role where I can do something for the team and be involved,” Thomas Erlington said. “I want to be involved as much as I can in the passing game, the running game, and even the blocking game as a fullback. As long as I’m on the field and I can help other people around me make plays or I can make plays myself, I’ll be fulfilled as a football player.”