Redskins' Batiste once walked the beat in Lafayette
For some Acadiana Saints fans, there will be another familiar face on the field today as the unbeaten Saints take on the Washington Redskins (3-8). In addition to Opelousas native Devery Henderson, on the other side of the line will be reserve offensive lineman and former UL standout D'Anthony Batiste, who has strong ties to Lafayette. In a lengthy profile published yesterday, "Redskins' Batiste walked the beat, but now holds the line:
Reserve never gave up on dream of playing pro football," The Washington Post recounts his days in Lafayette:
In spring 2007, D'Anthony Batiste returned to Cajun country and told a wild tale that even Louisiana's most colorful backwater storytellers wouldn't dare spice up. At 6 feet 4 and 314 pounds, he stood as a giant in front of the roomful of cadets enrolled in the Acadiana Law Enforcement Training Academy in Lafayette, La.
I was once just like you, he told them.
And the story that unfolded for the young cadets -- a group still learning how to fire a gun and work a police beat -- was improbable from start to finish.
"I loved playing football. . . . On draft day, my phone never rang. . . . The NFL didn't want me . . . neither did Canada . . . so I worked in the jail . . . then the sheriff's office. . . . I was there for Katrina . . . but I never gave up on my dream . . . it always came back to football for me."
Around the academy office in Lafayette, they still talk often about Batiste, whom they call "D" or "Big D." They'd never produced an officer quite like him. For starters, none of the others was as big; few as menacing, fewer as promising. And certainly none left the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office for the NFL.
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