Saints Countdown to NFL Kickoff 2021: #59 Keith Mitchell

Saints News Network's Countdown to Kickoff: 59 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 59 days away from their Week 1 clash with the Pack. Here is a look at one of the greatest players in New Orleans Saints history to wear #59: LB Keith Mitchell

Keith Mitchell, 46, played seven NFL seasons, five with the New Orleans Saints. A member of the "Wrecking Crew" defense at Texas A&M, Mitchell shined at OLB, tallying 34 sacks in his collegiate career. In his senior year, he compiled 14.5 sacks and 10.5 TFL while leading his team to a victory in the Alamo Bowl over Michigan.  

After earning All-America accolades from The Sporting News and College, Football News Mitchell went undrafted in the 1997 NFL Draft. The New Orleans Saints signed Mitchell and turned him into a pass-rushing specialist, playing to his strengths. He would go on to appear in 79 consecutive games for the Saints. 

The best year of Mitchell's career came in 2000, helping the Saints to a 10-6 record and the franchise's first playoff victory. Mitchell produced 6.5 sacks, 4 FR, 1 INT, and two touchdowns during the Saints unforeseen season. His efforts earned him a spot on the NFC Pro-Bowl roster.  

Following his best year as a pro, Mitchell lost his starting job in 2001 and requested to be released by the team after the season. The Houston Texans signed Mitchell but injuries cut his 2002 season short. After his brief stint with Houston, Mitchell signed with Jacksonville. However, injuries again came into play. Mitchell suffered a spinal contusion and was told his NFL career was over.  

Mitchell lost his starting job in 2001 and requested a release from the Saints. The Houston Texans signed Mitchell, but injuries cut his 2002 season short. After his brief stint with Houston, Mitchell signed with Jacksonville. However, injuries again came into play. Mitchell suffered a spinal contusion and was told his NFL career was over.

Since retirement, Mitchell struggled with finding his identity and suffered from depression. Today, Mitchell is a certified yoga instructor and founded the Light It Up Foundation and the KM59 wellness movement that helps children, trauma survivors, first responders, and veterans.

In his seven-year NFL career, Mitchel dressed in 94 games, starting 70. Mitchell made 62 of those starts with the Black and Gold piling up 18.5 sacks and three defensive touchdowns. He was a one-time Pro-Bowl selection in 2000.


Follow Saints News Network’s Writer, Brendan Boylan, on Twitter & Instagram at @btboylan.

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