Happy 4th of July! I hope everyone has a very fun and safe holiday with family, celebrating our independence. Be sure to give a thought/prayer out to our troops as well, please, who help afford us that luxury.
I’ve decided to fill up some space in this dead period prior to training camp by sharing a list of my top 101 Saints of all time, in keeping with the PFF top 101 list and the NFL Network top 100 players in the NFL. We’ll start with the bottom 10. I hope you enjoy!
101. KR Mel Gray (1986-1988)
Gray spent three seasons with the Saints as an electric and game breaking kick returner. He had two touchdowns in three seasons on returns and often set up the Saints with fantastic field position. He would go on to be known as one of the greatest kick returners of all time in NFL history with the Lions, where he made 4 Pro Bowls. While the Saints didn’t get his best years, it was a good draft pick that sparked their special teams for 3 seasons. They should have held on to him.
100. DE/OLB Renaldo Turnbull (1990-1996)
Turnbull had the unfortunate timing of coming behind the “Dome Patrol” era. Most Saints fans will tell you he was terrible, but that’s actually really unfair. Did he live up to the guys he replaced in Pat Swilling and Rickey Jackson? Of course not. But he was a good player in his own right. His best season came in 1993 when he posted 13 sacks and made his only Pro Bowl. His career 44.5 sacks ranks 10th in team history.
99. LB Keith Mitchell (1997-2001)
Mitchell was an overachieving linebacker that was one dimensional and mainly used as a blitzer. Most Saints fans were shocked to see him elected to the 2000 Pro Bowl but he was a player that made plays. Despite being undrafted he gave the Saints five quality seasons.
98. FB Hokie Gajan (1982-1985)
Gajan is now a radio reporter locally for WWL. During his playing days which were cut short due to injury, Gajan had a couple monster seasons. In 1984 he rushed for 615 yards at 6.0 yards per carry. He finished his career with a 5.4 yards per carry average and 13 touchdowns.
97. RB Andy Livingston (1969-1970)
Livingston was acquired from the Bears in a trade after a poor career in Chicago up to that point. He made the Saints look smart for a season, though, as he rushed for 761 yards, 5 touchdowns and also had 278 yards receiving. That doesn’t seem like much now but at the time it was elite. He earned a trip to the Pro Bowl for that performance. Unfortunately for the Saints he then suffered a major knee injury and never played again.
96. FB Mike Karney (2004-2008)
Karney was a fantastic lead blocker that paved the way for the elite Deuce McAllister running seasons. He was twice voted as a Pro Bowl alternate. His biggest game was of course the three touchdown performance against the Cowboys in Dallas in 2006. Asked about his time with the Saints, Karney told me “To say it was a privilege to play the greatest game at the highest level in the greatest league in the world is an understatement. My time and experience in the NFL is one that I will never forget. The New Orleans Saints allowed my biggest dream to come true and for that, I am forever grateful. Who Dat!”
95. TE John Tice (1983-1992)
Tice was a never spectacular but solid tight end that blocked well and gave the Saints 10 years of service. He played his entire career with the team. He had 6 touchdowns in 1987 and his best season came in 1986 when he had 37 receptions.
94. C Steve Korte (1983-1990)
Like Tice, Korte played his entire career with the Saints. He also scored a touchdown once on a fumble recovery. He was primarily a rock solid starter at center for the majority of his time with the team.
93. QB Jim Everett (1994-1996)
Despite being on poor teams and only playing with the Saints for three seasons, Everett put up some pretty impressive numbers. He’s fifth all time in team history in touchdown passes (60) and passing yards.
92. C John Hill (1975-1984)
Like Steve Korte he was a very good center that played a long time as a starter for the Saints. Hill anchored the 1979 team that dominated on the ground with Chuck Muncie at running back.
91. RB Tony Baker (1968-1971)
Baker had one very good season for the Saints but was otherwise a disappointment. His best season earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl thanks to 624 yards rushing at 4.8 yards per carry.
90. LB Scott Shanle (2006-2012)
Shanle was a starter on the Super Bowl champion 2009 team. He was a quality and durable full time starter from 2006 through 2011. His best season was his first in 2006 when he had 98 tackles and 4 sacks. Shanle told me the following about his time in New Orleans: “Being part of the most successful tenure in Saints history is a great feeling. Nowhere I would rather have played.”