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Malcolm Jenkins returns as a Leader

Sean Payton realized later allowing Malcolm Jenkins to leave New Orleans was a mistake. Today, Jenkins returns to Saints hoping to his original franchise garner a second title of their own.

Malcolm Jenkins returns to New Orleans as a leader and mentor.  He sees a talented team on the verge of winning its second Super Bowl championship. 

During this past free agency period, the New Orleans Saints looked to add some more experience to a still young defense. The Saints found their answer in a familiar face returning to the big easy, Safety Malcolm Jenkins. Head Coach Sean Payton has gone on the record by saying allowing Malcolm Jenkins to become a free agent and leave the team in 2013 was the “worst mistake” he has ever made. New Orleans re-signed Jenkins this offseason with a 4-year, $36M deal.

Malcolm Jenkins at Saints Training Camp in 2020 - 2

“Obviously, being the place I started at, but this is probably the most talented team I've been a part of since the 2017 Eagles team...I think, surprisingly, a lot of the culture that was built early on in Sean Payton's tenure here as well as Drew Brees’, a lot of the cornerstones to the culture here have's actually surprising to come back and see a lot of the same things being talked about, a lot of the same situations, the expectations, the way they go about practicing, all of these things lead to lead to winning, and that culture has been in place for a while and it's no surprise why this has been the winningest team in the last few years,” said Jenkins.

Malcolm Jenkins at Saints Training Camp in 2020

Jenkins not only returns to help solidify the secondary but also to help mentor the defense and lead them to the Super Bowl. Previously, Jenkins described himself as a “natural introvert” but has always been vocal on the field. His recent social justice activism has also helped him to become a better leader.

“It's a lot easier for me to be a leader and vocal on field, that's where a lot of my personality comes out. I've been a captain on every team that I've been on, since I've started this game. So that has not been a challenge for me, but stepping out more into the public eye and being kind of a voice in that regard definitely took a lot of preparation and really, I think courage just to fight my own battles...But once I realized that I'm just as intelligent as all these other people who are in these rooms, that I have something to offer to the public dialogue, it made a lot easier.”   Malcolm Jenkins in Saints media interview

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Saints Malcolm Jenkins battles WR Lil' Jordan Humphrey

On the field during training camp, Jenkins said that he feels like the defense has begun to click and that everyone has been playing very complementary, even calling Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins “the most talented tandem he’s ever played with.”

“Janoris being a veteran who can run with anybody, can change direction and cover anybody who I think is really motivated and hungry right now. To watch him just in practice against our receivers has been impressive. And then I think Marshon really can be the best corner in this league. It's just about consistency and really bringing that out of him, but he's been locked in and focused,” mentioned Jenkins.

Jenkins even praised star Wide Receiver, Michael Thomas, as one of the most competitive receivers he’s ever played against in the league.

Jenkins shared his thoughts on Thomas, “He's somebody who's very, very passionate. You'd think the first rep of practice is the first rep of the Super Bowl. He wants to win everything. I think that that attitude demands it out of everybody else and kind of raises that competition level.”

Jenkins serves as a Social Justice coordinator and correspondent for CNN.  The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation has provided hundreds of youth in underprivileged neighbors in Louisiana and Philadelphia with college scholarships, computers, and other technology from Microsoft.  This season will be Jenkins' 12th season in the NFL.  

Article written by Sam Lucio, Saints News Network Intern.  Follow Sam on Twitter.