Anthony Dablé: “As long as they tell me ‘you’re not good enough’, I will not stop”

Anthony Dablé chances of playing in the NFL have been rejuvenated.

The French receiver has signed a contract with the Atlanta Falcons for next season. He is back on a new adventure, but also disappointed about his journey with the New York Giants.

Raul Villeroy De Gallhau: Anthony, we knew you were with the Giants then close to signing with the Patriots, and finally you signed with the Atlanta Falcons. Tell us about the last few months.

Anthony Dablé: After being cut by the Giants, I stayed in New York to train. I did a quick test with the Jets then with the Patriots. After that I went to Florida with a coach who has contact with the Falcons. He showed them videos and in November they called me to do a workout, in the presence of head coach (Dan Quinn) and it went really well. There, they told me that I really interested them and that they might sign me later. I continued to train between Canada and Florida. And during the holidays, my agent called me and told me that the Giants and the Falcons wanted to sign me for this year. So I chose the Falcons.

De Galhau: What made you go to Atlanta and turn down New York?

Dablé: I chose Atlanta because of the experience I had with the Giants. It was not just the way I was cut. They did not give me any reason, they did not tell me what was wrong, what mistakes I had made. I am not mad, I do not want to go back to a place where I can get cut for no reason.  I do not have ten years in front of me. Moreover, once the season ended, the Falcons contacted me very quickly and I appreciated that.

De Galhau: The squad of receivers is already very developed, which was also the case with the Giants. Are not you afraid of the competition?

Dablé: Sure it’s a challenge, but I like competition. I like to be at the top every training to win my place on the field. And then only those two teams approached me. So it’s a good sign too.

De Galhau: Your contract is a “futures contract”. What exactly does that mean?

Dablé: I am signed on the reserve for the off season. That means I will be one of the 90 players at the beginning of the training camp next summer. For me to prove myself to make the squad to 75 then to 53 for the regular season.

De Galhau: To know that you will train with the Falcons, do you cheer for them a little more during these playoffs?

Dablé: In fact I do not have a favorite team in NFL. I like to watch all the games, I try to watch as much as possible during the season and I do not miss anything of the playoffs. If they win the Super Bowl this year, it would be great to train with them. But it is the same as in any NFL team. At the Giants it was incredible. In the meeting room I sat between Victor Cruz, Tavarres King and Odell Beckham Junior. With Atlanta it can be Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel and Julio Jones. There are stars in every NFL team.

6/1/16 New York Giants receiver Anthony Dablé during a workout at the Giants Training facility in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

New York Giants receiver Anthony Dablé during a workout at the Giants Training facility in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

“It was just not the right place”

De Galhau: What are you doing to stay fit?

Dablé: I train in Canada at the Université de Sherbrooke. There are players who throw the balls, there is a training room, I do not need more. Finally, football is the same everywhere. In France, Germany or the United States. The difference with the high level is the concentration of talented players on the field and players who make fewer mistakes. The training is the same for the technique and the physical.

De Galhau: Do you think the NFL is the same football as in Europe?

Dablé: Off the field, media coverage is much higher. As soon as you do something, the media knows it. But on the field it is the same sport. The NFL players make fewer mistakes and react faster. When I arrived, I even wondered sometimes when it was really going to impress me. Obviously, there are awesome players like Odell Beckham on some catches or runs. But not everyone is at that level.

De Galhau: You feel that you deserve to be on an NFL team?

Dablé: Yes, I think I have at least the level of other players. By the way, when I got cut, my position coach just said, “That’ll do it for you”. I have confidence in being able to succeed. And at the Giants everyone encouraged me and said that I was adapting well, that I was improving. Hence my incomprehension then I was cut. As long as no one says “You’re not good enough to play, you’re too slow” I will not stop! There’s no reason I should stop. It was just not the right place. The day they tell me it’s impossible to evolve in NFL, I might not have reached my goal, but I would have  given everything to make it happen.

De Galhau: What went wrong with the Giants then?

Dablé: My biggest surprise was not to be cut, it was to be retained in the group of 75 players. I was passing a first level, but I did not have time to play, the groups of receivers did not change. I asked what my mistakes were, I was told that everything was fine, but that the veterans were privileged. So I could not do anything, I passed the first cuts, but I had the feeling that it would be useless.

“I hope people will follow more”

De Galhau: Have you been more sought after since your time with New York?

Dablé: Yes, there is a huge difference. Before I never did interviews. In Germany, I had to do maybe three in three years. Now I am sought after in France, but I also had a page in Sports Illustrated. It’s pretty new to me.

De Galhau: Would you see yourself as an ambassador of the NFL in France? A bit like Tony Parker with the NBA?

Dablé: If I succeed in the NFL, I think it will happen naturally. Tony Parker is Franco-American so it was a bit of home for him too. But it is true that I, since I do not follow basketball, heard about him by reading about him. I guess it will be the same with me. If I play, I will talk about my performance in the media. There will probably be a little word in the newspapers or on the internet. On my Facebook page I already get a lot of messages of support and encouragement. If I can be part of the 53 players in Atlanta during the season, I hope people will follow the NFL even more.

Interview by Raoul Villeroy De Galhau in

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