23-year-old Fabian Thames told WBZ NewsRadio in an interview that he became interested in rugby after he noticed the National Football League was searching for more rugby players to make the jump over to football.
"With defense, they're trying to move towards the rugby-style of tackling, so when I got the opportunity to play rugby at a professional level- I thought it was a perfect fit to get experience and fine tune my tackling techniques," Thames said.
Thames appeared on Randolph Community Television for a Pro Signing event earlier this month, where he reflected on his Super Bowl-winning career for the RHS Blue Devils. After high school, Thames moved on to American International College's Division 2 football team, which he says was a humbling experience to making a statement at the next level.
He says his time at AIC in Springfield sharpened his skills and taught him more about the mental aspect of football, as he spent time in the film room to study the game.
On the switch to rugby, Thames says he's making progress getting used to the differences.
"I'm still getting familiar with the terminology, but there is going to be someone who's calling the plays- in rugby you could have three quarterbacks on the field having different units running their own plays," Thames said.
Thames said the similarities don't end there either, as he mentioned that American football originates from European rugby, and shares a good amount of terminology with the sport. But with the Raptors, Thames says he has big plans.
"Right now, my goal is to be the best rugby player out on the field, and really take advantage of this opportunity. If I do get the opportunity to play football again, my cardio is definitely going up from the amount of running that I'm doing, and I feel like I would be well equipped," Thames said.