For 10 years, Canadian Louis-Philippe Ladouceur has avoided the NFL spotlight while playing in one of football's most high-profile markets.
But the Dallas Cowboys long-snapper is enjoying some attention these days after recently being added to the Pro Bowl roster for the first time. The Montreal native was selected as a "need'' player by Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh and will suit up for the Ravens-coached squad Sunday at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
"There are certain things in football you want to do," the 33-year-old said this week in a phone interview. "Obviously, the Super Bowl is the ultimate in football and making it as far as possible in the playoffs, that's always No. 1.
"But the second thing is to get recognized and the best way to get recognized in this league is either with a Pro Bowl invitation or contract. I've played 10 years so I've had many contracts and felt like the next thing was to be invited to the Pro Bowl. It's a big deal for me, a big accomplishment in my career. It had a lot of meaning before and has an even bigger meaning now."
Ladouceur will be one of seven Cowboys appearing in the Pro Bowl. The New England Patriots and defending champion Seattle Seahawks will square off in Arizona on Feb. 1 in the Super Bowl.
The Pro Bowl invitation is a heady accomplishment for a former defensive lineman who joined the Cowboys three games into the '05 season. Ladouceur originally signed with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent out of the University of California before being released.
Ladouceur signed with Dallas after then-head coach Bill Parcells opted to make a change at long snapper. The Cowboys were staying in California between road games against San Francisco and Oakland and gave the former Cal star a look.
The six-foot-five, 255-pound Ladouceur hasn't looked back. He's been with Dallas ever since, having never missed a punt (493 snaps and counting), field goal (214) or convert (302) attempt.
In 2013, Dallas rewarded Ladouceur with a five-year contract.
"L.P., he does a third of my job, it all starts with him and he's been doing it for a long time," Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey said of Ladouceur on the team's website. "I'm real lucky to have him.
"I put him up there with some of the best in the league and I have a lot of respect for what he does. He makes my job easier."
Ladouceur has also stayed healthy. The Cowboys' third-longest tenured player hasn't missed an NFL game during his career while registering 14 special-teams tackles.
Dallas finished atop the NFC East with a 12-4 record to secure its first playoff appearance since '09. But it was an eventful return as both of the Cowboys' post-season contests (a 24-20 wild-card win over Detroit on Jan. 4 and 26-21 divisional loss to Green Bay on Jan. 11) included controversial officiating calls.
In the wild-card game, Dallas linebacker Anthony Hitchens was flagged for pass interference with 8:25 remaining and Detroit facing third-and-one while leading 20-17. But the officials picked up the flag without explanation.
The following weekend at Lambeau Field, Dallas trailed 26-21 with 4:42 remaining when quarterback Tony Romo completed a fourth-down pass to Dez Bryant at Green Bay's one-yard line. But the play was overruled as Bryant was deemed to not have made a legal catch.
Dallas turned the ball over on downs, allowing Green Bay to advance to the NFC championship game against Seattle. On Sunday, the Seahawks rallied from a 19-7 fourth-quarter deficit for a wild 28-22 overtime victory.
But Ladouceur wasn't blaming the officials for Dallas's loss to Green Bay.
"There's so many more other plays we could've made in that game to change the outcome," he said. "There's still 60-some plays on offence, 60-some plays on defence and 20 some-odd plays on special teams that could've made a difference.
"That call, yeah, could've made a difference but at the end of the day if we wanted to win that game we should've won it at a different spot and time in the game."
Ladouceur said his Pro Bowl selection has taken some of the sting away from the Green Bay loss.
"I wish I would've played in that game Sunday, I'm not going to lie to you," Ladouceur said. "We had a really good season . . . I just thought we had a heck of a chance in Green Bay.
"To have the Pro Bowl at the end of the season kind of makes it a little bit bittersweet but it's still a hell of a deal."