Skip to main content

Bama in the NFL: Roman Harper, Mark Ingram II Hold Special Place in Saints History

Alabama standouts turned broadcasters both played prominent roles in New Orleans, and helped a city devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

One would think that being so close to Tuscaloosa, the New Orleans Saints would have a rich history with Alabama Crimson Tide players in the NFL. But that hasn't been the case.  

New Orleans served as as the swan song to Kenny Stabler's career, and was also the brief late home for fellow quarterback Richard Todd. In terms of legacy, though, the former Crimson Tide players who top the list with this franchise have to be running back Mark Ingram II and safety Roman Harper.

Not only were they top draft picks by the organization — the Saints traded up to take Ingram with the 28th-overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, while Harper had been a surprise second-round pick in 2006 — and both two-time Pro Bowl selections, but they were crucial in helping New Orleans recover following the devastation from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Ingram played 12 NFL seasons. He rushed for 8,111 yards and 65 touchdowns over his career, also catching 303 passes for 2,125 yards and another five scores. He had three 1,000-yard seasons, led his team in rushing five times, and finished with 19 career 100-yard outings. 

Although the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, the first in Alabama history, also spent time with the Ravens and Texans, Ingram posted the majority of his stats with the Saints. Over 10 seasons with New Orleans he rushed for 6,500 yards and scored 57 total touchdowns. The rushing yards and 52 rushing touchdowns are both first on the franchise's all-time list. He's just one of just four players to have multiple 1,000-yard seasons with the team (two) and one of only three players to do so during consecutive seasons.

Harper played nine seasons with the Saints. Of his 818 career tackles, 683 were with New Orleans, along with 17 of his 18 sacks, 14 of his 15 forced fumbles, and seven of his 11 interceptions. 

He helped lead New Orleans to Super Bowl XLIV, and the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl 50.

Interestingly enough, both players left the Saints via free agency, but ended up returning and closing their careers back in New Orleans. Ingram was traded by the Texans during the 2021 season, and then played a final season in 2022. Harper signed a one-year deal for 2016 to serve as a mentor and veteran presence in the secondary. 

Both have become popular college football analysts, Harper with ESPN/SEC Network and Ingram with Fox Sports on the "Big Noon Kickoff" show.

In conjunction with our revamped Bama in the NFL Database, this is the 23nd story in a series examining the team-by-team history of Alabama's former players in the NFL.



See Also:

Bama in the NFL: The Ultimate Crimson Tide Database
Bama in the NFL: Active Alabama Crimson Tide Players by Team