METAIRIE, LA (KPLC) - It’s a dream all football players strive for— to wear a uniform for an NFL team. Former McNeese quarterback James Tabary received his opportunity this past weekend when he participated in the New Orleans Saints rookie mini-camp.
“It means a lot and not just because it was the New Orleans Saints. It meant a lot because it was an opportunity. It opened up a huge amount of doors in my career and even though I didn’t sign with the Saints, the offensive coordinator [Pete Carmichael] told me that he thought I blew it out of the water,” Tabary said. “He said that I went above his expectations on how I was going to do and he thought I had an absolutely amazing camp.”
Tabary went into the offseason believing that all he needed was a chance. He felt like made the most of his opportunity and his ability to take care of the football stood out.
“I would say my strongest strength this week and was going through my progressions and eliminating routes for the progression based on the defense. I really excelled at not turning the ball over. I think every other quarterback except for myself, either fumbled the ball under center or threw a pick,” admitted Tabary. “I didn’t have any turnovers over the last three days and we had five, two-hour long practices. I was being careful with the ball while finding guys that were open, even if it was my check down.”
“Sean Payton complemented me quite a bit this past weekend and it was a great feeling.”
Tabary also said the rookie camp was demanding more than just physically.
“I’m mentally exhausted just trying to get the playbook down every day. We had around 70 plays that we had to learn in three days,” said Tabary. “It was amazing, but at the same time it was crazy just how complex the offense is.”
Tabary left camp without an offer, but the experience and confidence gained gives him hope for an NFL future.
“It means a lot and I now have film going against a real NFL defense. To know that I did really well at the camp just boosts my confidence a lot knowing I can play on that level," Tabary said. "I just know that once God closes one door, he opens up three more. I’ve always believed in that. It’s has been happening these last few days and it’s been absolutely amazing. I’m sure I’ll be hearing from other teams soon.”
For now, Tabary said he’ll continue training so when the opportunity arises, he can rise to the occasion again.
“I know that my agent will be reaching out to more teams that had interest pre-draft and see if they’ve cut anyone and I’m sure someone will eventually need a quarterback for a camp coming up. I just have to stay patient and keep trusting the process and doing what I’m doing,” said Tabary. “After this weekend, it’s opened up a lot of doors and the main thing is having the film showing that I can compete at that level.”
“It was definitely a life-changing experience. It was incredible.”