The New Orleans Saints are less than 44 days away from kicking off the 2022 Regular Season against the Atlanta Falcons on September 11 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA.
Saints News Network is helping the Who Dat Nation count down the days until kickoff by highlighting the current or best player to wear the corresponding number for the Black and Gold. Make sure to follow along throughout the remainder of the offseason!
#44: Fullback Mike Karney (2004-2008)
The New Orleans Saints drafted Mike Karney, an All Pac-12 selection in 2001, in the fifth round of the 2004 NFL Draft. The Saints traded two draft choices to select the Arizona State product, and it looked to pay off for both parties. Karney was an immediate impact in NOLA working his way to two Pro-Bowls (2006 and 2007).
During the Saints run to the NFC championship game in 2006, Karney pieced together his best NFL games, scoring three TDs against the Dallas Cowboys. Those were the first three TDs of his career. The 2006 All-Pro selection spent five years in New Orleans, starting 46 games and scoring 7 TDs.
#43: Running Back Darren Sproles (2011-2013)
Darren Sproles joined the Saints in 2011 after spending his first six NFL seasons with the San Diego Chargers. His first season with the Saints was a special one. Led by Drew Brees' single-season passing record, the Saints set records across the board in 2011. Along with catching the record-breaking pass from Brees, Sproles set an NFL record for himself passing Derrick Mason for the most all-purpose yards in a single season.
Sproles' stint with the Saints ended following the 2013 season when he was traded to the Eagles for a fifth-round draft choice. The 3x Pro-Bowl selection (all with Eagles), finished his Saints career appearing in 44 games, collecting over 5,500 all-purpose yards and scoring 22 TDs.
#42: Wide Reciever John Gilliam (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: Running Back Alvin Kamara (2017-Present)
Alvin Kamara joined the New Orleans Saints after being selected in the third-round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The Tennessee product took the league by storm winning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and solidifying himself as one of the league's best young talents.
Prior to the 2020 NFL season, Kamara and the Saints reached a five-year contract extension worth over $75M. AK lived up to the massive payday scoring 21 total touchdowns in his fourth NFL season and cracking over 900 rushing yards for the first time in his NFL career.
Following an up and down 2021 campaign for the entire Saints offense, Kamara is on pace to break the Saints franchise records for touchdowns, currently held by former WR Marques Colston (72) this season. Through his first five NFL seasons Kamara has totaled 7,501 scrimmage yards, 67 touchdowns, and five trips to the Pro-Bowl.
#40: Cornerback Delvin Breaux (2015-2017)
Hollywood could not have written a better script than Delvin Breaux's journey to joining his hometown New Orleans Saints. Back in 2006, 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 set 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 a multi-time All-Star selection.
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.
The New Orleans Native recently became an International Best Selling Author with his autobiography "UnBreauxKen" and launched an apparel line founded by him and his son. He is currently playing for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League.
#39: Defensive Back Chris Reis (2007-2010)
Chris Reis' time with the New Orleans Saints can be defined by one word. AMBUSH! The former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket and NFL Europe standout contributed to one of the most iconic moments in Super Bowl history. Down at halftime in Super Bowl XLIV, Saints HC Sean Payton elected to begin the second half with a surprise onside kick.
The play, later known as AMBUSH, was supposed to be recovered by Saints Safety Roman Harper, but following a bounce off of a Colt, Reis recovered the kick. Pinning the ball with one hand to his leg, Reis remarkably came away the ball swinging the momentum to the Saints and propelling them to the franchise's first Super Bowl title.
#38: Running Back George Rogers (1981-84)
With the first pick of the 1981 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints selected RB George Rogers from the University of South Carolina. The 1980 Heisman Trophy winner set a single-season rookie NFL record with 1,674 rushing yards and 13 TD with the Saints. His performance earned Rogers the NFL Rookie of the Year Award for 1981.
During his four years with New Orleans, Rogers dressed in 51 games, starting 49 and rushed for 4,267 yards and 23 TDs. His 1,674 rushing yards and 13 TDs rushing yards in 1981 both remain franchise rookie records. Rogers was named to three Pro-Bowls, two with the Saints, and won Super Bowl XXII with the Washington Redskins in 1987.
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