Saints Countdown Kickoff 2021 #24-22: Bell, Thomas, Porter

Saints News Network's Countdown to Kickoff: less than 24 Days until the New Orleans Saints Week 1 Matchup vs the Green Bay Packers on September 12th, 2021.
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The New Orleans Saints are less than 24 days away from their Week 1 clash with the Pack. Here is a look at three Saints that have sported the numbers 24, 23, and 22: 

#24 Vonn Bell, DB (2016-2019)

Vonn Bell-Marshon Lattimore

The New Orleans Saints traded up in the 2016 NFL Draft to select Bell the DB from Ohio State. Bell’s decorated college career included a 2014 National Championship and a first-team All-American selection a year later. In his first two NFL seasons, Bell competed for the starting Free Safety role before moving to the Strong Side in 2018. 

Bell quickly excelled in Dennis Allen’s three safety scheme, proving to be an excellent tackler tallying 80+ tackles in each of his four NFL seasons. The Ohio State product led the league in fumble recoveries last season (5), earning him a 3-year, $18M deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. Bell finished his Saints tenure collecting 348 tackles, 8 sacks, 7 Forced Fumbles, 7 Fumble Recoveries, and 1 interception. 

#23 Pierre Thomas, RB (2007-2014)

 Feb 7, 2010 ; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas (23) dives across the goal line for a touchdown in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLIV at Sun-Life Stadium. The Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons – US PRESSWIRE

Feb 7, 2010 ; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas (23) dives across the goal line for a touchdown in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLIV at Sun-Life Stadium. The Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons – US PRESSWIRE

The undrafted free agent from Illinois, Pierre Thomas, joined the Saints in 2007. He beat-out fourth-round draft choice, Antonio Pittman, for a roster spot. Thomas’ first opportunity in the NFL came mid-season 2008 after an injury to Reggie Bush. In Bush’s absence, Thomas averaged north of 112 scrimmage yards over a six-game span, scoring a TD in each game. 

Thomas' role expanded in 2009 as he helped the Saints capture their first Lombardi Trophy. He scored the Saints first-ever Super Bowl touchdown in Super Bowl XLIV off a screen pass from Drew Brees in the third quarter. In eight seasons with New Orleans, Thomas rushed for 3,745 yards and 28 touchdowns and catching 327 passes for 2,608 yards and 12 touchdowns. 

#22 Tracy Porter, CB (2008-2011)

Tracy Porter was a well versed athlete playing quarterback, running back, wide-out, and cornerback in high school. He then displayed his athleticism at Indiana University, becoming the first player in the school's history to return a punt, interception, and fumble for a touchdown. During the NFL Combine, Porter ran 4.37 seconds in the 40. He entered the 2008 NFL Draft as one of the fastest defensive backs in his draft class. The New Orleans Saints selected Porter in the second round and 40th overall. He started five games as a rookie before being placed on injured reserve in 2008. 

His sophomore season was his most memorable in the NFL. In 2009, Porter finished with a career-high four interceptions and returned one for a touchdown. However, it was his performance in the playoffs for the Saints are the most memorable. Tracy forced a fumble and made two of the biggest defensive plays in New Orleans Saints history. 

In the NFC Championship game, Porter intercepted legendary quarterback Brett Favre in the closing seconds of regulation, forcing overtime. New Orleans went on to win in the overtime session and represented the NFC two-weeks later in Super Bowl XLIV. LAte in the fourth-quarter, Porter's 74-yard "Pick Six" of Payton Manning sealed the win for the Saints' first Super Bowl title. The NFC Championship and Super Bowl hero played four years in New Orleans, making 195 tackles and 7 interceptions.


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