The New Orleans Saints are less than 90 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!
#89 Tight End: Josh Hill (2013-2020)
For eight NFL seasons Josh Hill proved to be a vital part of the Saints offense as both a receiving threat and blocking tight end. A favorite of head coach Sean Payton, Hill found a role with the Black and Gold after showing grit and lunch pale work ethic as an undrafted free agent. The 6'5 Idaho State product became a go to in goal-line formations, short yardage and the screen game.
Hill only collected 116 career receptions for 1,071 yards and 15 touchdowns but served as a huge piece to the Saints success from 2017-2020. Perhaps one of Hill's most memorable NFL moments came in December of 2019, as he was on the receiving end of Drew Brees' 420th career touchdown pass which set an NFL record.
#88 Tight End: Jeremy Shockey (2008-2010)
Jeremy Shockey joined the Saints in 2008 via a trade with the New York Giants for two selections in the 2009 NFL Draft. A 4x Pro Bowl selection and 2002 NFL Rookie of the Year, Shockey joined New Orleans with high expectations but struggled during his time in the Black and Gold.
After failing to reach the end zone during his first year in New Orleans, Shockey would post his best season with the Saints in 2009 en route to a Super Bowl Championship. The University of Miami Star caught the go-ahead touchdown in Super Bowl XLIV in the same city he starred in during his college career. Shockey caught 139 passes for 1,460 yards and 6 touchdowns during his three-year tenure with the Saints.
#87 Wide Reciever: Joe Horn (2000-2006)
Joining the Saints in 2000, Joe Horn bought a load of personality and electricity to the New Orleans reciever room. Horn was an instant contributor, eclipsing 1,300 yards and a Pro-Bowl nod in his first year in New Orleans and helping lead the team to the franchise's first playoff victory. He would eclipse 1,300 yards two more times for the Saints before being released following the 2006 NFL season.
"Hollywood" put together the best years of his NFL career in New Orleans, earning Pro-Bowl honors in four of his six seasons in New Orleans. He concluded his time with the Saints reeling in 523 receptions for 7,622 yards and 50 touchdowns. Horn was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2010.
#86 Wide Reciever: Jeff Groth (1981-1985)
Jeff Groth elected to play professional football over baseball after being drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 1979 and the Texas Rangers (MLB) in 1980. After stops in both Miami and Houston, Groth joined the Saints with just five career receptions in two years. During his first year in New Orleans, Groth started 13 of 16 games and scored his first NFL touchdown. He would go on to start 50 games for the Black and Gold over a five year span and serve as the team's primary punt return man.
Groth concluded his NFL career following the 1985 NFL season, spending majority of it with the Saints. He totaled 147 receptions for 2,073 yards and 5 touchdowns to go along with 887 punt return yards.
#85 Tight End: Hoby Brenner (1981-1993)
Drafted in the third round of the 1981 NFL Draft, Hoby Brenner would go on to become one of the best all around tight ends in the NFL. With reliable hands and better than average blocking skills, he was a household name in New Orleans for more than a decade. Brenner helped the franchise turn the corner and was a major contributor to the team's success in the late 80's and early 90's.
Brenner would spend his entire NFL career with the New Orleans Saints. He would conclude his NFL career with one Pro-Bowl (1987), 267 receptions for 3,849 yards and 21 touchdowns. Brenner was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2001.
#84 Return Specialist: Michael Lewis (2001-2006)
Michael Lewis is one of a handful "hometown heroes" to play for the New Orleans Saints. Born in New Orleans, Lewis joined the Saints as an undrafted free agent in 2001 and made NFL History a year later. In 2002, "The Beer Man" set an NFL record for combined kick-punt return yardage with 2,432 yards (1,807 on kickoffs and 625 on punt returns). He earned a trip to the Pro-Bowl and a spot on the All-Pro team for his record breaking efforts that also saw him reach the end zone three times.
Lewis posted three more seasons collecting over 1,000 kick return and punt return yardage before leaving his hometown Saints in 2007. Lewis totaled 7,955 total return yards for the Black and Gold and was inducted into the team's Hall of Fame in 2015.
#83 Wide Reciever Donte' Stallworth (2002-2005)
Donte' Stallworth was drafted in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. The explosive playmaker from Tennessee was to be paired across from Pro Bowler Joe Horn giving the Saints a deadly one-two punch at wide out. During his rookie season Stallworth hauled in 8 touchdown passes, which would end up being a career high.
During his time in New Orleans, Stallworth saw growth nearly every season and provided a strong second option on the outside. Ultimately, the Saints traded him ahead of the 2006 NFL season to Philadelphia for Mark Simoneau and a fourth round draft selection. Stallworth ended his Saints career collecting 195 receptions for 2,791 yards and 23 touchdowns in four seasons.
Keep up with our Countdown to Kickoff:
- Saints Countdown to 2022 Kickoff: #99 Shy Tuttle
- Saints Countdown to 2022 Kickoff: #98 Payton Turner
- Saints Countdown to 2022 Kickoff: #97 Renaldo Turnbull
- Saints Countdown to 2022 Kickoff: #96-90: Cameron Jordan, Will Smith & More!
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