When the NFL kicked off its 2020 season on September 10th at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, between the two teams the Chiefs and Texans there were 94 players suited up and on the field. Around the NFL there were 1,504 players that suited up week one while 576 were inactive, in total there were 2,080 football players under contract by an NFL team. From the outside looking in that looks like a lot of players but that is just 2% of NCAA division one players and 0.09% of High School football players. Looking in at those numbers, there are so many athletes that deserve to be in the NFL but never have the opportunity to live out their dream and play an NFL game. There are too many athletes that fall through the cracks. For a lot of the players it may make sense why they do not have the NFL shot, however there are hundreds of football players that are worthy of it and continue to work towards the opportunity, whether that be in training or in other professional league like the CFL, The Spring League, and the XFL. One person that understands the work that needs to be put in to achieve the goal of suiting up on a Sunday in the NFL because of the work he’s done with a number of professional athletes would be Craig LeBlanc.
LeBlanc is a quarterback turned coach and trainer in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He has been recently working with well known wide receivers coach David Robinson of “Always Open” where he has coached quarterbacks and thrown with some of the top receivers in the game. Robinson has been known for training some of the NFL’s premier wide receivers such as Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Sterling Shepard, Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk and Dez Bryant. Since beginning his trainings with David Robinson and being around some of the best athletes in the NFL as well as some University, High School and Free Agent football players Craig LeBlanc has found a passion of his. “I love providing opportunities for guys that need it.” LeBlanc commented in an interview with JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic, “I’ve never wanted to be a face of something, its never about me. I am doing everything for the guys around me and I want to build something where my guys can achieve their dreams and get stuff done.”
One major thing that Craig LeBlanc has launched to provide opportunity and help to athletes around him succeed is the 2 Live Late Night Crew. The 2 Live Late Night Crew started earlier this year where a group, led by LeBlanc, free agent defensive back Victor Hubbard, quarterback Donovan Isom and NFL Pro Bowler Dez Bryant has linked up every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to train under the lights, improving to play on Sundays. When asked about the crew LeBlanc said, “It all just started so we can give guys the opportunity to go up against some competition and improve while they wait for their next opportunity. It ended up getting some attention early on and was a no brainer for myself to also use it as an opportunity to give some guys exposure and help guys achieve their dreams.” Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday when the 2 Live Late Night Crew hits the field the cameras are on and athletes perform and showcase what they can do. The platform has grown a lot because of the NFL players that have been out to sessions but it’s now at a point where players of all levels, from high school to the NFL are at sessions. “We’ve all seen what Dez (Bryant) can do on Sundays, his film speaks for itself but one thing that a lot of people don’t know and haven’t seen is the human being he is. He’s in there (at the training sessions) and pulling guys a side, it doesn’t matter if their a high school, college or pro guy and he’s working them through their craft and coaching them up.” LeBlanc mentioned, “Dez is always the first one that jumps in to talk to these guys too and it goes outside of football, he’s a real role model for some of these guys on and off of the field. There has been some kind of misconception of who he is as a person because he treats everyone with love, kindness and respect, really without him 2 Live Late Night Crew wouldn’t be the same. He brings the energy and love every time he is there and you can tell how beneficial it is for some guys to have him there not only running routes so they can see what he does but also for that coaching and role model aspect of it. He wants everyone to get better and elevate.”
Dez Bryant, Craig LeBlanc and David Robinson have a number of athletes training with them every week at all levels of football, from high school to pro and some of the athletes, more specifically the professional football players that are at the 2 Live Late Night Crew sessions every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with LeBlanc are worthy of an NFL opportunity that they don’t have just yet. Quarterback Donovan Isom has been throwing for Bryant for quite some time now and still stays a free agent, receivers Jordan Smallwood, Will Forbes and James Harden as well as defensive back Victor Hubbard are of many players that LeBlanc would love to see get an opportunity. For receiver James Harden, who has been found in front of several different NFL stadiums holding signs with his information on it saying “Sign Me” and has recently played in the Fan Controlled Football League, Craig LeBlanc said the day he signs with an NFL team will be “one of the happiest days of his life.” he explains, “He’s one of the hardest workers at all of the sessions he is at, he is a great receiver with the ability to make plays. Going to all of these stadiums he has shown that he has the work ethic, he just needs the opportunity and so do a lot of other guys at the sessions we put on.”
To continue to provide opportunities for athletes like Harden to improve their game and extend their exposure to achieve their dreams of one day playing an NFL game Craig LeBlanc has some big plans. “My main goal moving forward is to get my guys opportunities.” he said, “I am planning on doing a free agent combine and a college combine at some point in the near future for my guys and other guys in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to showcase themselves. There is a lot of great athletes in this area that deserve a chance so if I can help them get there that would be awesome.” One main thing with LeBlanc, and he mentioned it during the interview with Zlomislic is his selflessness. Many trainers and coaches out there are building their brands and platforms off of their clients success while Craig LeBlanc is building his clients and his athletes’ brands off of his small success he’s seen already and will continue to do so. He is all about providing opportunity for the guys he coaches and as an athlete that is the exact coach you want, a main reason why LeBlanc and his group at 2 Live Late Night Crew is bound to have long term success and already is having success with a number of athletes now being seen through the trainings like Jordan Smallwood who signed with the Ottawa Redblacks and Laquon Treadwell who is now a Jacksonville Jaguar. LeBlanc signed off the interview saying, “I’m excited to see the future of this and to see more of my guys succeed.”