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Lucien Antoine’s Arc



Adam Kemp currently reports for the O’Colly and provided today’s post as well as the photos. You can follow him on Twitter here and look at the rest of his pictures on Flickr here.

By NFL scouts terminology, Lucien Antoine is a medical reject.

Those are harsh words for some of us to hear about a guy that has been through as much as Antoine. Most Cowboy fans know Lucien’s story about coming to America from Haiti when he was 16.

Antoine loved soccer and basketball growing up and didn’t even touch a football until his senior year of high school when he played defensive end.

It was that same year, after his first big hit that sent some poor soul flying through the air, he knew he was hooked on the sport and he decided to walk on at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas.

After playing safety for two years there, he caught the eye of Oklahoma State and the rest is history. The man known as “The Punisher” became an instant fan favorite in 2009 after he sat out all of 2008 with a torn ACL. His devastating hits on Cowboy opponents were so big they left fans wincing in pain seemingly by proxy.

Antoine performs at Boone Pickens Stadium

It looked like Antoine would take his missile like tackles to the next level as he was invited to the combine after the season and worked out for several pro scouts. But while there, he had MRI’s done on both knees revealing a partially torn meniscus in one and a repaired ACL on the other.

Lucien would go undrafted and didn’t receive one camp offer from an NFL team.
“A lot of people thought I would just get hurt in camp. I know it’s a business and people are spending money on guys and they don’t want to pay for a guy that won’t play.”

Antoine said the hardest part about not getting a shot was watching football the next season.

“I see people out there not giving effort or hustling and I just know I am better than them and I am watching them play while I am sitting on a couch. I just missed football a lot.”

That honesty was one of the main things I loved about Lucien. He’s not really being cocky, just expressing his frustration with his situation. His desire to compete was almost unmatched by just about anyone on the team. He was a ferocious competitor while the game was going on and would tear a guy’s head off if he came across the middle, but after the game he was always the last guy off the field because he would try and thank everyone from the opposing team.

The first time I met Lucien was when he was moving into his apartment during the summer of 2008. I had just seen a video of him playing at Fort Collins the day before so when I saw him I asked him if he was this internet sensation known only to me as “The Punisher.”

His reaction was almost pure shock. Kind of like “how does this weird kid in Oklahoma know who I am?” We talked for a little bit about how excited he was to get practice going and how thankful he was for this opportunity to just play football.

Antoine does drills in front of NFL scouts on OSU's Pro Day

I was extremely surprised Lucien wasn’t given a chance on some NFL team mostly because you’ve got to think the guy’s ceiling has yet to be found. He has only been playing football since he was a senior in high school and even then he only found the safety position about four years ago.

Nonetheless, having his NFL dreams dashed didn’t detour Lucien from another goal of his as he is only six hours short of earning his degree.

“I am still in school and taking classes because you gotta get the degree too.”

Lucien also got back to working out and preparing for another chance at making an NFL squad this season. He competed at Oklahoma State’s Pro Timing Day on Wednesday and ran every drill for scouts that included a broad jump of more than 10 feet.

“The draft is so crazy and the next level is so much of a business that right now I really don’t know what to expect. If I get back out there… when I get back out there again I am going to be so excited, I don’t even know how I would celebrate that but I know that because I keep God first that I will get some kind of chance and maybe just maybe somebody will give me a call.”

Then Lucien said something that makes the masses of us keep coming back for more of this silly cultural phenomenon we call sports. He gave me the reason we watch March Madness and 4-round golf tournaments and Tuesday night football games between unranked non-BCS squads. He gave me what could be emblazoned squarely upon the surreal arc of his life story…

“I mean you never know.”

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