Members of Saints All-Time team share favorite memories, first big purchase after signing with New Orleans
It’s time for a little holiday cheer in New Orleans, as our Saints are 5-7 entering the fourth quarter of the regular season. The All-50th Saints Team, the top 50 players in franchise history, was recognized at last Sunday’s game against the Lions. I spoke with 14 members of the team, including Drew Brees, Vaughan Johnson, Derland Moore, and Michael Lewis, and asked them two questions:
1. What is your favorite Saints memory
2. Do you recall any of their first big purchases after getting your first Saints contract?
As you might expect, their answers ran the gamut of possibilities. In their replies, one can get a sense of when each man played, as well as how professional football has shifted over a half century from being more of a game to more of a business. Most players were caught off guard by second question and chuckled at the novelty of the inquisition. Most answers were funny, many emotional, and gave insight into the character behind the 50 greatest Saints.
Jon Stinchcomb, T (2003-2010)
Favorite Memory – Best memory was the Super Bowl year. I can’t separate any of them out. Just the closeness of the group, the offensive line, in particular. Joe Vitt used to say, “You’re going to walk together forever.” Especially with that offensive line group, we’ve all gone in different directions, but I still consider them some of my closest buddies.”
Big Purchase – My first purchase was my first car, which I still drive today. It’s an ’02 Escalade that I bought from a pawn shop. I’m telling you, yeah! It was my first big purchase!
Wayne Martin, DL (1989-1999)
Favorite Memory – My most memorable was when we won the NFC West in ’91. We started off so hot, then cooled down, but we eventually won it. I came here to win, and it was fun to win the NFC West. It was the first time the Saints won their division. After being in there with San Francisco getting beat every year, we won it that year!
Big Purchase – I don’t really remember anything big.
Sammy Knight, S (1997-2002)
Favorite Memory – Definitely the Saints’ first playoff win. It was significant for us, having come in here, and the Saints weren’t doing so well. Having gone through the Ditka era, and then having Haslett coming in and turning it around. Just seeing the smiles on the fans’ faces, people dancing in the stands and in the streets. They partied for a week! It was great for the city. That’s my favorite memory.
Big Purchase – I was an unrestricted free agent when I came here, but as an undrafted rookie, my only purchase was getting a good bank account to put my money in. I had no big purchases at all!
Michael Lewis, RS (2001-2006)
Favorite Memory – I have a lot of them, but the biggest one was my punt return for a touchdown in 2002 against Washington. That really put me on the map as far as being the Saints’ return guy.
Big Purchase – Buying a vehicle. When I first got here I drove an ’81 Buick Regal until it broke down. So I didn’t have a choice but to get something. So buying a vehicle was my first big purchase. It was a Ford Expedition. My house was next with my second contract!
Vaughan Johnson, LB (1986-1993)
Favorite Memory – My favorite memory was our first winning season. That was a very memorable moment. Playing with Rickey (Jackson), Pat (Swilling), and Sam (Mills). All four of us made the Pro Bowl together. That was a special moment, and we knew it and talked about it. I don’t know if something like that will ever happen again. We had a lot of fun with our families together. That was an outstanding time.
Big Purchase – I didn’t purchase anything major for almost a year. Then, I think I got me a car or something. A Mercedes, but it wasn’t nothing major.
Jim Wilks, DT (1981-1993)
Favorite Memory – Our first winning season, when we finally broke 8-8 and we went up to 9-7. That was with Jim Mora. We came close with Bum Phillips. We almost made it, but Mike Lansford with the Rams kicked a field goal to beat us and kick us out of the playoffs. The killer part about that is Mike Lansford is a friend of mine!
Big Purchase – Probably homes. You know, you move from one home to another. No big cars or none of that stuff. I learned when I was younger that cars depreciate, and you don’t want that.
Marques Colston, WR (2006-2015)
Favorite Memory – Obviously, No. 1 on the list is south Florida. Just being a part of that team the entire year and having it culminate in that way. There’s no other feeling in the world like it.
Big Purchase – I was pretty modest. My first purchase was my first car. It was a used Cadillac DeVille. Went to an auction with my hefty signing bonus as a seventh round pick and scooped that up.
Derland Moore, DT (1973-1985)
Favorite Memory – I’ve got so many favorites, but one that stands out is when I was a rookie. They had a minicamp down here for all of the rookies and the veterans. On the last day, we looked down at the end of the field on David Drive, where we had camp then, and they’re boiling all these crawdads. I’m thinking are they expecting us to eat catfish bait? And then a Stag Beer truck pulled up with three spigots on the side. They’d never do that today! The veterans wanted to have a rookie drinking contest. I was the first pick that year, even though it wasn’t until the second round. I tried to tell them that I didn’t drink during the season. J.D. Roberts was our head coach, and he played at Oklahoma, like I did. He called me over, twisted his finger at me, and told me, ‘I didn’t draft you to embarrass me, boy. Now get over there and show ’em how we drink in Oklahoma.’ Well, I did. I didn’t remember where I was that night, but we won!
Big Purchase – Absolutely, I bought a motorcycle. I was so thrilled with that. It was a chopper. So I’m driving it around campus. It was used, but, boy, was it hot! I had it for about a month, and then I got this call from New Orleans. It was J.D., and he goes, ‘Derland?’
And I said, ‘Yes, sir?’
He said, ‘Do you have a motor scooter?’
I said, ‘Not a motor scooter. I got a chopper, coach.’
‘Do you know about your contract that you signed with us? You can’t have a motorcycle.’
I said, ‘No sir. I didn’t know that.’
‘Well, now you do. Now, we have to get rid of that motorcycle, correct?’
‘Oh, yes, sir. I’ll get rid of it, coach.’
‘Well,’ he said. ‘Do you know anyone who wants to buy it?’
I said, ‘No, sir, but I’ll check around.’
‘Well, I’ve already got somebody. He’ll be there in about 30 minutes, and I suggest you sell it to him.’
And I got half back on what I paid for it just a month before!
Hoby Brenner, TE (1981-1993)
Favorite Memory – The biggest was our first winning year in ’87. That was by far the high water mark. We got the winning year and got in the playoffs. There was so much excitement.
Big Purchase – My bonus, I put in a Merrill Lynch market account and was getting 21 percent interest. That’s what I remember most about that year. It was 1981. The interest rates were so out of whack. Especially compared to today. That’s the part I recall the most.
Tommy Myers, S (1972-1981)
Favorite Memory – Running out for the first home game. Al Hirt was playing “When the Saints Go marching In.” I’ve always remembered that as just the epitome of, ‘OK, I’m here now. I made it.’ That was a really big thrill.
Big Purchase – My first contract wasn’t very big. I think I bought a car when I got here. It was a Pontiac LeMans. And it was all of about $3,000.
Deuce McAllister, RB (2001-2008)
Favorite Memory – My favorite was being part of that Super Bowl team. Obviously I didn’t play in that game, but just to be called back for that playoff run. The Saints wanted me to be part of it. I was special to them. To have that opportunity means the world to me, and my family, too. It was pretty awesome, definitely a special moment.
Big Purchase – My biggest purchase was my mom’s home. Just being able to do that, the sacrifice that they gave to me as an individual to help me get to that point, that was the least bit I could do to give back.
Pierre Thomas, RB (2007-2014)
Favorite Memory – The whole Super Bowl experience and being able to score the Saints’ first Super Bowl touchdown. I couldn’t help but dive in. I felt like a little kid. Man, that whole day. Seeing family, the looks on their faces that you knew, ‘I’ve made it.’
Big Purchase – My first big purchase was for my mom. She got a house. She deserved it.
Thomas Morstead, P (2009-present)
Favorite Memory – Winning the NFC Championship here in New Orleans to go to the Super Bowl in my rookie year.
Big Purchase – My wife’s engagement ring.
Drew Brees, QB (2006-present)
Favorite Memory – There’s been so many to be honest with you. It’s hard to pick one over the course of 11 years. I’ve played with so many great teammates, been a part of some great teams, some great moments, and some great wins. Certainly our Super Bowl run and the win in Miami. Being able to share that with my teammates, and my wife, Brittany, and our son, Baylen, who at the time was just one year old. That was just the culmination of so much hard work from ’06 to ’09, post Katrina, over a four-year period. So many people were part of that. So many people felt part of that. So that was special.
Big Purchase – I was already in the league for several years when I came here. I’m a pretty simple guy, so I don’t remember any big purchases.
All 50th Saints Team
The following players, listed in alphabetical order by last name, have been identified as the top 50 players in New Orleans Saints history:
Danny Abramowicz, WR
Morten Andersen, K
LeCharles Bentley, C
Drew Brees, QB
Hoby Brenner, TE
Stan Brock, T
Reggie Bush, PR
Henry Childs, TE
Marques Colston, WR
Jim Dombrowski, G
Jahri Evans, G
Joe Federspiel, LB
Hokie Gajan, FB
Steve Gleason, ST
La’Roi Glover, DT
Jimmy Graham, TE
Roman Harper, S
Bobby Hebert, QB
Joel Hilgenberg, C
John Hill, C
Dalton Hilliard, RB
Joe Horn, WR
Tyrone Hughes, PR/KR
Rickey Jackson, LB
Joe Johnson, DE
Vaughan Johnson, LB
Sammy Knight, S
Jake Kupp, G
Michael Lewis, RS
Eric Martin, WR
Wayne Martin, DL
Archie Manning, QB
Fred McAfee, RB/ST
Deuce McAllister, RB
Sam Mills, LB
Derland Moore, DT
Thomas Morstead, P
Tommy Myers, S
Carl Nicks, G
Johnnie Poe, CB
Willie Roaf, T
Will Smith, DE
Jon Stinchcomb, T
Pat Swilling, LB
Pierre Thomas, RB
Jonathan Vilma, LB
Frank Warren, DE
Dave Waymer, CB
Dave Whitsell, CB
Jim Wilks, DT