Several former New Orleans Saints return home for Sunday’s game


August 18, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers receiver Robert Meachem (12) during the second half against the Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers won 28-20. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Two former New Orleans Saints will line up against their old team on Sunday with one on offense and the other on defense.

The most recognizable will be wide receiver Robert Meachem who was first round pick of the Saints in the 2007 NFL Draft.  He was one of the speedy threats for the team that was known for stretching the field against opponents.

Meachem wanted more of a starting role than he had with the Saints as well as a big payday.  During free agency this year he signed a four-year, $25.9 million contract with the San Diego Chargers.

Defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin played for the Saints last season on a one-year deal after leaving the San Francisco 49ers.  Thought to be part of a new regime on defense that would be a run stopping force, Franklin didn’t have the impact that was first thought of.

Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said that 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis must be “crying in his milk” when the Saints picked Franklin up.  It was the exact opposite and the 49ers defense functioned as well or even better without him.

After Steve Spagnuolo came to the Saints, it was decided that Franklin wouldn’t be brought back and they signed defensive tackle Broderick Bunkley instead.  Franklin then headed to San Diego after they saw they were in need of a tackle.  So far he has seven tackles this season with the Chargers.