France’s Catalans Grizzlys sign TE Dillon Salva

The Catalans Grizzlys who play in the top league in France, have signed former Merrimack College and NFL tight end Dillon Salva for the 2021 season.

The Grizzlys had advanced to the Elite division in France last season and during the shortened year finished with a record of 1-3 before the season was cancelled in mid March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The team is located in the southeast tip of France just north of the city of Perpignan in a region known for world-class beaches, vineyards, and many nearby ski resorts. They open the 2021 season on January 30, 2021.

The 6’6″, 250 pound, 26 year old Salva, a native of New Brunswick, New Jersey, spent part of the 2019 season playing with the Austin Generals in The Spring League. He played in two senior All Star games, the National Bowl in Daytona, Beach, Florida and the College Gridiron Showcase in Dallas, Texas. He attended the Washington NFL team’s Rookie Mini camp as well as the Atlanta Falcons OTAs and the New York Jets and New York Giants local days.

A two-year member of the Merrimack College football team (NCAA Div. II, Northeast Conference), he was selected to the 2017 National Bowl against top DII, DIII and NAIA players nationwide. Over the course of his football career at Merrimack he recorded 16 receptions for 230 yards and three touchdowns. He led the Northeast Conference in receiving yards for tight ends in his senior year. The versatile Salva also spent one season on the Merrimack basketball team.

Grizzlys head coach Augie Stevens was happy to have Dillon Salva agree to join the team.

 “We’re very excited to bring in an athlete like Dillon. He is exactly the type of player we were looking for – a large, strong, fast, and physical tight end who can be a key point of our offense. We’re looking forward to using his skillset and versatility in a variety of ways. Dillon was the top available player we identified during our scouting search and we’re naturally very pleased to get his signature. The entire team was fired up when we announced it to them. When it comes to import players, I want to bring the best humans here first and foremost. I believe Dillon will be an excellent leader and ambassador of football to our community.”

Salva’s size and skill attracted the interest of NFL teams but what impressed him about the opportunity to play in France for Catalans was the thorough research done by Stevens:

After my experience in the NFL, it was a breath of fresh air when coach Stevens contacted me because he actually evaluated my film as a football player and talked to me about actual major factors that come in to play when discussing talent on the field. It actually shocked me for a second because I was so used to scouts just being worried about what school you came from and what your stats were as opposed to the actual product you put on the field at your respective position. Right then and there I knew it was a no brainer to sign with them. I look forward to giving it 110% and working toward a championship our first year in the top division.”

Check out Dillon Salva’ highlights from Merrimack College

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