Archambault ‘progressing’ in football as a coach
When the Hamilton Tiger-Cats drafted linebacker Byron Archambault with the 17th pick in the 2015 Draft, the expectation was the six-foot, 235 pounder would have a long CFL career. He had good size, speed and toughness — perfect for the rugged special teams of the Canadian game.
But injuries, including a torn ACL suffered midway through his rookie year, limited him to just 10 games in his first two seasons and this week Archambault decided to retire to become the special teams co-ordinator and linebackers coach with his alma mater, the Montreal Carabins.
But injuries aren’t forcing him to retire — at least that’s not the whole story. The Spectator’s Drew Edwards spoke to Archambault from Montreal this week and the full conversation can be found on the new Scratching Pod podcast at 3DownNation.com
Drew Edwards: Can you explain to me how this came about?
Byron Archambault: It happened in the last few weeks. I’d been thinking about it for quite some time, exploring what I should do and this is really the best decision for me. I feel like I’m ready to start coaching and I will also be continuing my studies, doing an MBA at the business school at the University of Montreal.
DE: Were injuries a factor in your decision?
BA: When you get injured and you’re not a player that’s used to getting injured, it causes certain reflections as far where you’re going with your career and what you should do for the future. But in the end, it was something that, regardless of injury, was a beneficial decision for myself. Injuries play a role in every athlete’s career and they usually catch up to most of us eventually.
DE: I’m curious about the timing. When you were drafted, there were high expectations and even with the injuries, the feeling was you had a long career ahead of you.
This decision is kind of surprising; that you’re giving up your playing career.
BA: I’m not ‘giving up.’ That’s not the right word, not the right way to put it. I feel like it’s progressing in football, going to a new chapter. I would never refer to it as quitting because I’m staying in football and what I’m choosing to do with my life is impart this wisdom that I was able to go and get during those two years with the Ticats to younger players, to prepare them where I failed in my preparation.
That’s really where this is going rather than quitting suddenly after two years.
The coaching aspect has been something that interested me and I realized that during some of the meetings that I was listening more as a future coach rather than as an actually player. I was taking notes on everything, observing how Jeff Reinebold and Orlondo Steinauer were talking to everyone. I was really studying them a lot. They probably don’t know it but they’ve impacted my life a lot and I’m forever grateful to them.
DE: You played for the Carabins and you’ve obviously maintained a relationship with head coach Danny Maciocia.
BA: Of course. He’s really a great man and he’s been a great mentor for me in my football career, helped me through some rough times. He’s definitely the kind of coach you want to be associated with. There are a lot of things that happen in a student-athlete’s career as he’s progressing through university and let’s just say that when Danny says that when you join the Carabin, you join the family, he’s a man of his word.
DE: You said you learned a lot from Jeff Reinebold and Orlondo Steinauer. What were some of those things?
BA: First and foremost, that energy and passion. If you ever sat in a meeting with Jeff Reinebold, you’d know what I mean — you have to be there. They have a way they go about their meetings and it’s a very effective in making sure everyone is attentive, that they assess the information the right way.
They have this type of ease with players and that’s how they get people to commit to them, to get people to play for them which is definitely rare at the pro level, especially.
DE: Special teams co-ordinator at a program like the Carabins is a big job.
BA: Exactly. I’ve been spending a lot of time with Danny, making sure that we’re getting everything ready for next season. I’m just so excited. There’s no counting of the hours right now, I’m just going all out. That’s what I love about football: when you love what you’re doing, you don’t care, you just do. I got that love for football here in Montreal. I have that fire. I thought I would play longer but this is how it unfolded and I couldn’t be more excited.
Injuries prompted Byron Archambault to retire and return as a coach to his alma mater.