Now that the Dallas Cowboys have re-located from Irving to West Charlotte, no one on the team has a longer commute than the most obscure player on the roster.
Louis-Philippe LaDouceur is the long snapper whose name you don’t know, or pronounce. FYI: It’s LAH-doo-sahr. It French, it means “the sweet.” In English it means, “He’s got it made.”
He is the one member on the team who lives in Fort Worth.
“Actually, I’m the only one who lives west of Fort Worth on this team,” he said. “It’s a long drive but it’s all highways.”
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LP actually lives in Aledo with his wife and their two children. He also is a member of Colonial Country Club and is known to join a foursome for a round every so often in the offseason. Word is he is a beast of a golfer.
LP is the rarest of football breeds - he’s the specialist whose skills are so rare it can often out outlast a kicker or a punter. L.P. has been with the Cowboys since 2005 and has played in 179 consecutive games. He actually made the Pro Bowl in 2014.
All of this from a guy who grew up in Canada and did not begin to play football until he was 14.
“I grew up playing hockey,” LaDouceur said. “I never thought this was going to happen.”
He recently signed a five-year contract. That is the second time he has signed a five-year contract. Do you know how rare it is for an NFL player to sign multiple long term deals, and actually play long enough to see the end of them?
“I got into football, next thing you know I’m offered a scholarship to Cal and them I’m a defensive end,” he said. “Then I’m a tackle. Then I get picked by the New Orleans Saints and I snapped a little bit. Then I got picked up by Dallas, and 12 years later ...”
Twelve years later, L.P. is 35 years old and still playing in the NFL.
When an NFL team falls backwards into a deep snapper, they will keep them forever just so they don’t have to worry about the position. Since LP became the long snapper for the Cowboys in 2005, Bill Parcells, Wade Phillips and now Jason Garrett have not had to sweat a single deep snap.
The infamous field goal snap that Tony Romo bobbled in the Cowboys’ wild card playoff loss in Seattle in ‘06 was not L.P.’s fault. Romo just didn’t come up with the ball clean.
To be a snapper requires an array of obscure particulars to align. He must be big enough to be an offensive lineman, but built more like a tight end and have the skills to hit the spot with the snap every single time. He’s the specialist with no statistical value yet whose worth is invaluable to a kicker or punter.
“It’s a lot of work but you do take it for granted but some people know it’s hard,” LaDouceur said. “It’s consistency every day. It’s an art. It’s a talent. It’s something you have or you don’t. Deep down you have to be able to do it.”
L.P. hopes to be able to do this until he’s 40, so he obviously doesn’t mind the longer commute.