INDIANAPOLIS – He speaks French, hails from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and played at Massachusetts. Oh, and smiles a lot.
And why not? Vlad Ducasse is living the American Dream at the NFL scouting combine as he takes the next step toward an unexpected career in professional football.
The majority of the top-rated offensive tackles took care of their media-room obligations Thursday, but Ducasse didn’t make it in until Friday. It’s only fitting for a player who didn’t take up the sport until his junior year in high school – after he and his brother were sent to this country to live with an uncle.
“I was walking down the hallway, and I was about 275 (pounds),” said Ducasse, who weighed in here at 330. “A couple of my friends and my coach came by and said they wanted me to try out for football.”
There’s a story that Ducasse put on his pads incorrectly for the first practice. “I don’t remember,” he said. “But I probably did.”
What was the appeal of this strange new sport? “It was fun. It was exciting,” he said. “You get to hit someone else without getting in trouble.”
Ducasse’s father still lives in Haiti, along with two uncles and a couple of cousins. All lost their homes in the recent earthquake, but not their lives.
“I’m here representing my school and representing my country,” he said. “So there’s a lot of pride.”