Babineaux takes a slightly different path to NFL

FLOWERY BRANCH - Jonathan Babineaux has not taken a standard route to the NFL.

The Falcons' second-round draft choice, who was to graduate from the University of Iowa on Saturday, May 14 and reported to Falcons headquarters in Flowery Branch, Ga., the next day, is the fourth of Barbara Babineaux's five children.

The other four already graduated from college, including younger brother Jordan, who registered eight tackles last season as a rookie defensive back with the Seahawks.

The youngest Babineaux attended Southern Arkansas, a Division II school, and was not drafted.

There's more to this story. It all happened even though the Babineaux's father died in a freak accident in 1991.

Jeffrey Babineaux was leaning on a railing at a doctor's office near the family's home in Port Arthur, Texas, when it broke. He fell some two stories to his death.

"Probably in fourth or fifth grade I started playing football," said Jonathan Babineaux, who is expected to contend for serious playing time as a reserve defensive tackle for Atlanta. "I always liked it, and my mom thought it was a good opportunity for me and my younger brother to get involved and get over the death of my father."

Jordan and Jonathan Babineaux are especially close among the five siblings, and they may meet Sept. 18, when the Falcons play at Seattle.

"I talk to Jordan about three or four times a week," Jonathan told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "That was pretty much how it always was, everywhere I went, he went."

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