Nine former Saints among the 130 Nominees for the 2021 Hall of Fame
Nine former New Orleans Saints players were among the 130 Modern-era nominees for the class of 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame, according to a league announcement on Wednesday.
ERIC ALLEN, CB
Eagles (1988-94), Saints (1995-97), Raiders (1998-2001)
Allen made the Pro Bowl in 1995 with New Orleans, one of six times he achieved that in his career. Five of his 54 career interceptions came during his three years with the Saints. Allen was one of the league's most respected defensive backs throughout his career.
JAKE DELHOMME, QB
Saints (1999-2003), Panthers (2004-09), Browns (2010), Texans (2011)
Delhomme's success was with Carolina, where he led that franchise to its first Super Bowl appearance and went to one Pro Bowl. With the Saints he appeared in just six games, starting two, completing 58% of his passes for 634 yards with 3 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
LA'ROI GLOVER, DT
Raiders (1996), Saints (1997-2001), Cowboys (2002-2005), Rams (2006-2008)
Glover had 50 of his 83.5 career sacks in his five seasons in New Orleans, which also included 41 tackles for loss, 11 fumbles forced, five fumble recoveries, and an interception. Glover earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2000 with a league-leading and career-high 17 sacks, helping form one of the NFL's most dominant defensive lines. It was one of six times he earned a Pro Bowl berth in his career, two of which came with the Saints.
MEL GRAY, KR
Saints (1986-88), Lions (1989-94), Oilers (1995-97), Eagles (1997)
Gray starred for the Los Angeles Express of the USFL before joining the Saints after the expansion league had folded. He had the league's longest kickoff return in 1986, a 101-Yd touchdown, and led the NFL by averaging 14.7 yards per punt return in 1987. He would go on to four Pro Bowls as a return specialist with Detroit and finish his career as one of the best kickoff and punt returners in league history.
OLIN KREUTZ, C
Bears (1998-2010), Saints (2011)
Kreutz played just four games for New Orleans in 2011 after earning six Pro Bowls with Chicago. He announced his retirement at mid-season that year after suffering a knee injury.
SAM MILLS, LB
Saints (1986-94), Panthers (1995-97)
Joining the Saints in 1986, after starring for the USFL's Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars, Mills would have five Pro Bowl seasons and would be elected to both the New Orleans and Carolina Hall of Fame. Four of those Pro Bowls would be with the Saints, where he was consistently among the league's leading tacklers and helped form the ‘‘Dome Patrol’’, widely recognized as the best linebacker unit in NFL history. As a member of the Saints, Mills had 10.5 sacks, 4 interceptions, 17 fumble recoveries, forced 16 fumbles, scored two defensive touchdowns, and had eight seasons of at least 85 tackles. Mills, who passed away in 2005, was a Hall of Fame finalist in 2020.
JEREMY SHOCKEY, TE
Giants (2002-07), Saints (2008-10), Panthers (2011)
A productive receiver during his 10 years in the league, all four of Shockey's Pro Bowl appearances came with the Giants. In three seasons with New Orleans, he caught 139 passes for 1,460 yards and six touchdowns and was a key contributor to the Saints Super Bowl XLIV championship team.
PAT SWILLING, LB
Saints (1986-92), Lions (1993-94), Raiders (1995-98)
A 3rd round draft choice out of Georgia Tech by the Saints in 1986, Swilling would join Hall of Famer Rickey Jackson, fellow nominee Sam Mills, and the underrated Vaughan Johnson on the Dome Patrol. He would be one of the league's most feared pass rushers through the late-1980's and early 1990s. Swilling would go to four Pro Bowls with the Saints, including two years of All-Pro honors.
He had 76.5 of his 107.5 career sacks while with New Orleans, which included five seasons of double-digit sack totals. Swilling would be the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 1991 when he led the league with a franchise-record 17 sacks. He left New Orleans third on the team's all-time sack list and had 3 interceptions, 7 fumble recoveries, forced 24 fumbles, and scored 1 defensive touchdown during his Saints career. A member of the Saints Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame, it is a travesty that Swilling is not yet enshrined in Canton.
WESLEY WALLS, TE
49ers (1989-93), Saints (1994-95), Panthers (1996-2002), Packers (2003)
Walls would have most of his success in Carolina, where he made the Pro Bowl five times. He had 95 receptions for 1,100 yards and eight scores in two years with the Saints, finishing second on the team in receiving in 1995.
The 130 Modern-era finalists will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November, then to 15 finalists in January. A selection committee will then vote to elect between four and eight new members to the Hall of Fame from that list on Saturday, February 6, 2021.