A name that resonates with many across the football world. A name known internationally, and a name with a very special story behind it.
The story of Delvin Breaux has been told by many to many over the years, but nobody tells his story better than himself.
On December 9th 2020 Breaux told his story his own way and wrote the book, “Un-Breaux-Ken”. The book tells the story of the New Orleans, Louisiana native that didn’t give up on his dream of playing in the NFL, even after a fractured C4, C5 and C6 vertebrae in a high school football game in 2006. The book tells the story of a football player who today can be looked at as a future CFL hall of famer, but also the story of a kid from Louisiana that didn’t have much of a childhood and used the game of football as an escape and a way to let out his emotions.
JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic recently talked to Delvin Breaux regarding the story in the book, “Un-Breaux-Ken” and gathered many reasons why his book should be a top seller.
Starting from the top, when you watch Delvin Breaux play football today on the professional stage you can see he plays with aggression. He plays with meaning. He plays the game of football as if he’s on a mission, and a lot of that has to do with his upbringing. For Breaux, football in a way was, and still is a part of a mission to be great. Growing up in the New Orleans, Louisiana area Breaux told Zlomislic that he didn’t have a “normal childhood”. He opened up about his childhood, the difficulties he faced as a child and how he used the game of football to get away from the struggles. “I had a lot of things going on behind closed doors at the time.” Breaux said, “I had a lot of aggression built up. I wanted to commit suicide at 9 years old. I had a lot on my mind, and I let it all out on the field as soon as I stepped onto it.”
Playing both running back and linebacker to start out, Breaux was not only leaving it all out on the field and using the game of football as an escape, but he was also a star early on in his football career.
After being introduced to football by his cousin and brothers, football, as mentioned became a great outlet for young Delvin Breaux to stay out of trouble and incorporate some kind of normalcy to his childhood. It didn’t take long before football then transformed from an outlet to a way out for Delvin Breaux.
In high school, at McDonogh 35 High School Breaux was making a name for himself. He created some buzz around his name and it didn’t take long before universities took notice of his potential. Once Delvin’s brother got the opportunity to showcase his talents at the Nike Open, his dad wanted him to tag along and showcase his talents at the same time. He told the backstory, “I wasn’t even supposed to be there. I didn’t get an invite to the camp, it was my brother that did but my dad ended up just copying his invite to get me into the camp too and I ended up being the best DB at the camp. Thats when LSU took interest in me and invited me to another camp in June where they ended up putting me against bigger and faster dudes before they offered me the scholarship.”
Everyone that knows Breaux’s story knows that he got that scholarship from LSU. At that June camp which he was invited to Breaux said, “I locked up each and everyone of the guys they had against me. I think they were all receivers they wanted to offer, and guys they wanted, but after that workout not one got an offer but I did.”
So, at this point in Delvin Breaux’s life, and football career, everything looked so good. The hometown university, LSU just offered him a scholarship which he went on to commit to and the NFL was very much in the picture for his future. He had just one more year of high school football before he would be in the Tigers secondary alongside some of the best defensive backs around including Patrick Peterson, Morris Claiborne, Tyrann Mathieu and Eric Reid who eventually became NFL stars, but after a kickoff on October 27th 2006, on a play which Breaux should have never been on for, everything about him playing at LSU was erased.
Breaux told Zlomislic the story of what happened on October 27th 2006, “the team we were playing, we hadn’t beaten them for 22 years or something like that. As we came out of halftime, the coaches kept saying they needed a big play. We opened the second half kicking off, and I wasn’t even supposed to be on kickoff. I never practiced on kickoff but in need of a play the coach wanted me to go out. I was ready to make a play. Once the ball was kicked I shot out of a cannon and as I went in to make the tackle all I remember is how (the ball carrier’s) his leg lifted and the crown of my helmet hit him straight on in a weird way. When I was laying on the field everything was just dark, I thought I was dead. I wasn’t moving. And then I saw this bright white light in this room, I didn’t see anything or hear anything. It reminded me of Jim Carey and Morgan Freeman’s Bruce Almighty. The coach brought over a smelling salt and asked if I was okay. When I heard him I said yes sir, picked up my helmet and walked off the field with my own power not knowing anything was really wrong with me, I was ready to get back in the game, but when I was on the sideline I could feel sharp pain in my back and in my neck. I remember trying to take an Ibuprofen and thats when, when I couldn’t swallow it, I knew something was wrong and I ended up going to the hospital and I had a broken C4, C5 and C6 vertebrae. I had surgery, and I will never forget before I left the hospital I asked the doctor if football was still possible and he said to send him Super Bowl tickets when I make it to the Super Bowl.”
Now, seeing where Delvin Breaux is at; playing in his 9th professional football season in 2022, some would say his story is a miracle.
After laying down on that football field 16 years ago not knowing if he was even alive after the hit he made, to be able to call himself a professional athlete is nothing short of a blessing for Delvin Breaux. It took a long journey get to where he is today in 2022 and he is extremely thankful for where he is today in his football playing career.
The journey to get to where he is, playing defensive back now for the B.C Lions in the CFL, all began while he was still under scholarship at LSU.
Although he never played a down of football at LSU due to his medical conditions and the University not clearing him to play, he stayed around the game while he still could. The University honoured his scholarship for him to play a role as a player coach with the Tigers, but having been around such a great organization and not being able to suit up in purple and gold, it wasn’t easy for Breaux to spend time around the football team, and he wasn’t always in the best place mentally while he wasn’t playing the game of football. Breaux went on to tell the story from his days at LSU, “when I went there I thought I’d be cleared.” he told Zlomislic, “I thought after I recovered from my injury and was back to normal I’d be back on the field and everything would be good but they didn’t clear me, they didn’t want to be liable if anything happened, they really didn’t want me to be doing anything around there that could hurt me and I always knew that if football got taken away from me I didn’t know what to do. When they said no to football to me I went to alcohol, I went to party, I went to a whole different lifestyle while I was in University and I was having fun, football was on the back burner, but in 2009 I tried to commit suicide after they tried to make me a players coach there, like watching all these guys doing all this, playing football and everything, I just wanted to be out there, and after that I don’t think I went to the facility for over a year, I was partying, not going to class, really at the time I was taking it all for granted, I had a good opportunity in front of me but it wasn’t what I wanted at the time, I just wanted to play football.”
Delvin Breaux did end up getting his opportunity to play football once again, with his wife at the time, in a flag football league in New Orleans.
He ended up playing more competitively, taking part in a number of tournaments and traveling to do so, eventually getting encouraged by a friend to try out for the New Orleans VooDoo in the Arena Football League where he went on to get noticed by the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger Cats.
In the 25 games played in 2013 and 2014 with the Hamilton Tiger Cats, prior to making his way into the NFL, getting signed by his hometown’s New Orleans Saints Breaux made 60 tackles, a sack, an interception and forced three fumbles. Playing at the professional stage he made a splash, a splash very well needed in his life.
Over his playing career in the CFL, with time spent in the NFL as well, Breaux has now played in 74 professional football games. “Football has always been a passion and a love of mine since I was a kid.” He said, “I’ve always been using it as an escape. I love the game, and when it came back, I was thankful. I didn’t really know what to expect the first time back on the field, I didn’t know if I was going to break my neck the first play back, or if my coverage would suck, but I knew I wanted to go out there and change the world because I never heard of anyone that broke their neck and came back like I did, when I came back I knew I was destined for greatness.”
Talking about his comeback to football he added, “I never rushed it. I allowed the opportunities to come to me… I’m thankful every day to do what I do, and to do all this (play football) at a high level.” Breaux included, “I’m thankful that I can be looked up to at such a big stage where people can look at me and I give them hope.”
Breaux is off to a great start to his 2022 CFL season with the B.C Lions having made 8 tackles and making good contribution towards the Lions’ 3-1 hot start. He and the Lions will be playing their week 6 game against the Hamilton Tiger Cats on Thursday night in Vancouver.