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pakowitz 05-13-2003 10:57 AM

McAllister finds the green

Posted on Tue, May. 13, 2003

Saint trades pads for clubs, cause

GAUTIER - Deuce McAllister has struck fear in the hearts of opposing defensive players while running the football for the Ole Miss Rebels and the New Orleans Saints.

The Lena native earned a reputation for running over and past defenders en route to All-American honors on the collegiate level and then to becoming the feature back at New Orleans.

On Monday, McAllister shed his tough-man image during the 10th Annual Anthony Dartez Golf Classic at Shell Landing Golf Club in Gautier.

McAllister and his Catch 22 Foundation were invited by the Isle of Capri Casino in Biloxi to help with the endowment tournament, which benefits the mentally and physically challenged in South Mississippi.

After taking photos with the 240 golfers and signing autographs, McAllister took his game face to the course.

However, his golf game was a different story.

On the ninth tee, McAllister, who was riding with Isle host Tippy O'Bryant, stopped to finish the ninth hole. Attempting to chip on the green from 20 yards, McAllister pushed the ball to the right, another 20 yards, from the pin.

Basically, McAllister's chip shot went directly away from the hole. In his defense, McAllister did sink a 20-yard putt to save par.

"Deuce, this is not football where you have to watch your blockers, you have to keep you head down (on the chip)," O'Bryant yelled. "The putt was better."

McAllister dropped his head and gave a huge smile and the old thumbs up.

"This is what it's all about," McAllister said. "The biggest thing is I am doing my best to help out. It's more about helping out for me."

He admits his golf swing needs work.

After getting the ball out of the bunker, McAllister retired for the day. He spent the rest of the afternoon greeting golfers and encouraging fans to support the tournament, which is named in memory of one of the original Isle of Capri hosts. Dartez passed away in 1993.

"People don't realize that we, as athletes, are human, too," he said.

"If we do something wrong, it ends up in the newspaper or on SportsCenter. When we do good things, it goes unnoticed.

"I enjoy doing things through the foundation to help mentally and physically challenged people, especially children."

With his putter in the bag, McAllister did his best to gain additional support from Saints fans in South Mississippi. He said a playoff spot is almost a certain and the Saints offense is one of the best in the league.

That, McAllister said, could mean trouble for the rest of the NFC.

"The offense is going to score 30-points plus next season," McAllister said. "We know we are capable of scoring 30 and the defense, through the draft, will be better.

"People will be surprised at the number of points we will score. Scoring 30 or more is our goal."

Rich Westfall, senior director of marketing for the Isle of Capri, said McAllister and his foundation represent the state of Mississippi, Ole Miss and the New Orleans Saints.

With McAllister on hand, 60, 4-man teams raised between $15,000 and $20,000.

To date, the tournament has raised more than $120,000.

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