Being most anonymous Cowboy just fine with Ladouceur
Being most anonymous Cowboy just fine with long snapper L.P. Ladouceur.
Howard Smith / USA TODAY Sports
By Steve Hunt
IRVING, Texas - There are plenty of familiar faces on this current group of Dallas Cowboys, as players like Dez Bryant, Tony Romo and Jason Witten are among the most recognizable members of America's Team.
But over on the opposite end of the spectrum sits long snapper L.P. Ladouceur, who even though he is now heading into his 10th NFL season, might be one of the least-known Cowboys, and that's just fine with this native Canadian.
Now 33, Ladouceur, broke in as an undrafted free agent in 2005 under former Dallas head coach Bill Parcells and he's been Dallas' long snapper ever since.
"You don't get to this many years without doing something right, so obviously the coaching staff and this organization thinks that I have. It puts a lot of confidence in a player when you know you have the backing from somewhere else," Ladouceur said. "In the past three years, we've had 48 games and in 38 of those we were within a touchdown at the end of the game. That means a lot of field goals were involved. They've been able to rely on me. There's a trust factor there."
Even in a league where the running joke among many players and media is that NFL means not for long in terms of players remaining with the same team for an extended period of time, this underrated but dependable Cowboy admits that's not really the case for him and his fellow deep snappers.
"Yeah, the NFL and not for long, it doesn't really apply to specialists-quarterbacks, etc. I was looking the other day at how many long snappers were getting into their 10th year or more. There's still quite a few. I think there's eight or 10. It's still 25, 30 percent of all long snappers, so certain coaches and certain organizations believe in that," Ladouceur said.
Now that he has been in the league for nearly a decade, this longtime deep snapper definitely realizes how many coaches and teammates he has seen come and go. In fact, he thinks the number of players he has seen at Valley Ranch since he first came there in '05 is now between 400 and 500.
And even though longevity is something Ladouceur and a number of his fellow deep snappers who have been in the NFL for some time have on their side, that doesn't mean this former Cal Golden Bear isn't still looking for ways to extend his career even longer.
One avenue he is utilizing to add a few years to his time in the NFL is by doing yoga, something which not only helps with his flexibility, a must-have for any successful long snapper, but it has also helped eliminate the various back and shoulder issues that have bothered him in the past.
"Yoga, I've been doing this Bikram Yoga. It's not high impact. It's a lot of balance, core and it's hot. I get a workout out of it and you stay on your mat. You don't move from your mat for an hour and a half. That's helpful with all the scapula problems that I've had or just from everything, back. I don't have any back issues anymore," Ladouceur said.
However, yoga is just one thing he's been doing over the past few years to change up his fitness regimen. He's also added swimming and is currently having a pool built at his house so he can swim laps at home whenever he wishes.
But the underlying theme in all of these alternative methods is that they are all low impact, something which he feels is a must considering his age.
"You can only do so much of everything. I try not to snap too much. I try not to lift too much. I try not to do certain things in the weight room that can kind of hinder me. I'm not 21, 22. I can't just get in the gym and do three hours of working out, wake up the next morning and be totally fine. I'm not at that point anymore," Ladouceur admitted.
So, as the Cowboys continue to progress through Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and then through a mandatory minicamp leading up to the start of training camp in late July, one position where there are no question marks is at deep snapper, thanks to the presence of one L.P. Ladouceur and as the man himself puts it, being wanted is never a bad thing.
"I'm in great shape right now. I feel good. I feel good right now and personally, I can still go four or five years. That's what I'm thinking," he said.