The New Orleans Saints are 50 days away from their Week 1 clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here is a look at one of New Orleans Saints' greatest players to wear #50: LB Curtis Lofton.
Curtis Lofton, 34, played eight NFL seasons, three with the New Orleans Saints. Ranked as the No. 8 LB in the country coming out of High School, Lofton committed to play in his home state at the University of Oklahoma. Lofton played as a reserve LB his first two seasons under Bob Stoops, impacting special teams. His Junior year, Lofton became the starting MLB for the Sooners and brought home All-America honors. Lofton finished third in the country in tackles, 157, and was the AP Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Following the season, Lofton announced he would forgo his senior season and enter the 2008 NFL Draft.
The Atlanta Falcons selected the Oklahoma LB in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Lofton quickly became a starter for Mike Smith's defense racking up 94 tackles his rookie season. For his efforts, Lofton was named PFW's Defensive Rookie of the Year. Over the next three seasons, Lofton tallied 115+ each season, helping the Falcons get to the Playoffs in 2010 and 2011.
After a career-high 147 tackles in 2011, Lofton became an unrestricted free agent. The New Orleans Saints signed him to a five-year contract worth $27M that offseason. Continuing his streak of consecutive years with 115+ tackles, Lofton led the Saints in 2012 with 123 stops. His numbers would increase the next two seasons, with 125 tackles in 2013 and 144 in 2014. After three seasons in the Bayou, the Saints released Lofton in March 2015 after shopping him in the offseason.
Lofton signed with the Oakland Raiders following his release. 2015 would be Lofton's final NFL season. He played in 16 games, making only nine starts and collecting career lows in tackles and forced fumbles.
In three seasons with the Saints, Lofton dressed and started all 48 regular-season games and 2 playoff games. He made 392 tackles, 3 sacks, and forced 4 fumbles in the black and gold. Lofton officially retired from pro football in 2017.
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