Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll raves about Canadian offensive lineman Pier-Olivier Lestage

Photo courtesy: Seattle Seahawks, James Hajjar and University of Montreal

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll raved about Canadian offensive lineman Pier-Olivier Lestage following the first day of rookie minicamp.

“I’m excited about this guy,” said Carroll. “He’s really, really focused and jacked about being here.”

Carroll referenced the conversation he had with Lestage prior to signing him as an undrafted NFL free agent. There were other teams who offered the blocker more guaranteed money to sign, but Lestage felt Seattle was the best fit for him as he looks to establish himself as a bona fide NFL player.

“The first time I talked to him he was on a subway or something like that,” said Carroll. “We had to struggle our way through our first conversation, but I could tell his enthusiasm and the juice for coming here and being part of this was there. He’s a real bright kid and really look forward to him finding his way.”

The six-foot-three, 305-pound blocker was a second-seam All-Canadian with the Université de Montréal Carabins in 2019. He didn’t see the field in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but was invited to participate in the prestigious East-West Shrine Bowl, which was conducted virtually.

The American media struggled with pronouncing Lestage’s name, but Carroll clarified that he’s simply going by ‘Pier’ in mini-camp. Though he’s capable of snapping with both hands, Lestage is primarily playing guard on the west coast.

“We’re gonna try him at guard as well as being an emergency centre-type guy,” said Carroll. “Right now we want to feature him playing the guard position, but that’s day one. We gotta figure it out from here.”

The 70-year-old Carroll was named the head coach of the Seahawks in 2010 following a nine-year stint at the University of Southern California during which he won two National Championships. Seattle has gone 112-63-1 under his watch and earned berths in Super Bowl XLVIII and XLIX, the former of which the Seahawks won.

Lestage was selected No. 10 overall in the 2021 CFL Draft by the Montreal Alouettes. The Als will be keeping close tabs on the Saint-Eustache, Que. native’s progress in the NFL as they hope to add him to their offensive line in the future.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.