Imagine for a moment that you are in a small space with a very large and very angry man. Imagine that this man stands 6’5″ and weighs 315 pounds and the only thing on his mind is causing you as much pain as humanely possible. You would likely panic and run for your life, I know I would, but while most of us would run for the hills when faced with such a situation that has never been the case with Drew Brees. Brees doesn’t run from the maw of the leviathan because Drew has always had something we don’t: a guardian. For a decade Drew Brees has been able to step back and survey the field knowing that he is safe from the monstrous men trying to do him harm… because he had Jahri Evans there to protect him.
There might not be a less glamorous or less heralded position in all of professional sports than being a guard in the NFL. They get none of the credit, and often times get a lot of the blame, yet they have the singular task of stopping some of the largest and most powerful men on the planet. For 10 years Jahri Evans job was to stop monsters like Ndamakung Suh, Gerald McCoy, and players like them, and for most of that time HE was the real monster. Jahri Evans stretch from being drafted in 2006 through 2012 is one of the most impressive runs any player has had in my opinion. Not only because he was one of the dominant players in the league throughout that entire time period, but because he didn’t miss a single game. While playing one of the most physically taxing positions, in an area known as a ‘the trenches’ (and for good reason), Jahri played more than 50 snaps a game and he was almost untouchable.
Over the last couple of years the unfortunate reality of time has taken away some of Evans dominance, and injuries have contributed to his decline, but when Jahri was at his best he was THE best. Evans is a 6 time pro-bowler, a 4 time first team all-pro, and legitimately was still underrated for what he was as a player. Jahri Evans was the rock upon which Drew Brees and Sean Payton built arguably the greatest decade of offensive excellence in league history. You won’t see him doing commercials, you won’t hear his name on the radio, but there isn’t a player out there who was more central to bringing winning to New Orleans than Jahri Evans.
That video might be from 2011 (you all remember that awesome year), but it’s also a perfect representation of both the impact Evans had and the respect he has earned among his peers. Evans was in many ways a once in a lifetime player, and while most of the time such comments are reserved for running backs, QBs, wide receivers, and defensive stars, Evans deserves every word of it.
Without Jahri Evans the Saints don’t own a large portion of the record books, without Jahri Evans Drew Brees isn’t able to put on the kind of shows he has so many times, and without Jahri Evans we don’t have a Super Bowl Victory to remember. Surely all of those things involved other players and a total collective effort, but make no mistake that Jahri Evans was every bit the key contributor to the Saints successes over the last decade as anyone. Evans may or may not eventually get into Canton, but there is absolutely NO reason at all he shouldn’t end up in the Saints ring of honor some day.
On the football field, in the locker room, with the press, and most importantly in life, Jahri Evans is a true champion and he will be missed.