Kamara, Breaux, and Gilliam - Saints Countdown to Kickoff 2020

BtBoylan

The New Orleans Saints are less than 42 days away from their Week 1 clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here is a look at three Saints that have sported the numbers 42, 41, and 40: 

#42 - John Gilliam, WR (1967-1968, 1977)

The New Orleans Saints are the only team in NFL history to score on the franchise's first play. In 1967, John Gilliam returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for the first touchdown in Saints history. The Saints selected Gilliam in the second round of the 1967 expansion draft. He would play his first two seasons (1967-68) with the Saints and returned to play his final 10 NFL games for the Black and Gold in 1977. In three years with New Orleans, Gilliam hauled in 57 rec and two TDs. 

His career-best years came between 1972-75 with the Minnesota Vikings. Gilliam earned four consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl and led the league in YPC in 1972 (22). Gilliam made his lone NFL All-Pro appearance when named to the second team in 1973. He ended his career with 382 rec, 7,056 yards, and 48 TDs. 

#41 - Alvin Kamara, RB (2017-Present)

Alvin Kamara, 25, is entering his fourth NFL season, all with the New Orleans Saints. Despite a down year in 2019, AK has proven to be an elite talent in the modern game. His unique blend of speed, strength, and balance makes him an impossible task for defenders in the open field and presents one of the biggest mismatches in all of the NFL. The AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2017 has found the end zone 37 times in 45 career games and averages over 6 yards per touch in his three year NFL career.

A Pro-Bowl selection in each of his NFL seasons, Kamara heads into a contract year in 2020. With expectations at an all-time high this season for the Saints, Kamara expected to return to his usual play. Kamara claims to have played 2019 at "75% on one leg" and has continued his strength and balance conditioning with Doctor Reef this offseason. The former third-round pick has reached over 1,300 scrimmage yards and has caught exactly 81 passes in each of his first three NFL seasons.

#40 - Delvin Breaux, CB (2015-2017)

Hollywood could not have written a better script than Delvin Breaux's journey to joining his hometown New Orleans Saints. On kickoff coverage during one of McDonogh #35 high school's football games, Breaux fractured three vertebrae in his neck. "It was a miracle he was neurologically fine," said Dr. Miguel Melgar. Breaux was to attend LSU, who honored his scholarship, but was never medically cleared to play. He left school and joined the Louisiana Bayou Vipers of the Gridiron Developmental League before working his way to the Arena Football League and eventually the CFL, where he was an All-Star. 

After working out for the Saints in 2015, Sean Payton told Breaux, "he didn't want him to leave the facility until he signed with them." Breaux played in 22 games for the Saints making 66 tackles, 20 passes defended, and 3 INT. He was named the team's defensive MVP in 2015 and the Ed Block Courage Award recipient.  Breaux is currently playing for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the CFL, where he is the highest-paid DB in the league.

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