Jul 28, 2013; Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints players run sprints at the conclusion of a morning training camp practice at the team training facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
It’s been a busy couple of days in the Who Dat Nation. From new rookie signings to Tom Benson‘s Super Bowl 52 pitch in Atlanta, New Orleans has been quite active in the news as of late.
We’ll start off first with the newest team members after rookie minicamp tryouts. Former Chicago Bears linebacker, Cheta Ozougwu (the Houston Texans‘ Mr. Irrelevant in 2011), wide receiver Steve Hull from the University of Illinois, the running back/cornerback hybrid Derrick Strozier from New Orleans’ own Tulane University and offensive lineman Thomas Welch. Welch has been bouncing around various practice squads in the league ever since being drafted by the New England Patriots in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Saints’ fourth-round pick, inside linebacker Khairi Fortt has also agreed to terms with New Orleans on a four-year deal.
In other news, Saints’ owner Tom Benson is currently in Atlanta, despite recovering from knee surgery, to make a case for New Orleans to host Super Bowl 52 in 2018. The Big Easy is currently the favorite to win the bid. Sports Illustrated writer Peter King even said that the city deserves to host the big game — “Sorry Minnesota and Indiana, you’ll have to wait. New Orleans, celebrating its 300th birthday in 2018, is the right choice for the 52nd big game.” Is there really a better place? Cheap drinks, good weather, better food and we sure know how to party. We got dat. The announcement will be made sometime this afternoon.
Let’s talk Hall of Fame. The New Orleans Saints have announced their newest inductees into the team’s Hall of Fame. Former kicker John Carney and quarterback Aaron Brooks will be the Saints’ class of 2014. Brooks became the starting quarterback in November of 2006 when Jeff Blake went down with an injury. Six weeks later, Brooks led the Black and Gold to their first ever playoff victory, after knocking the defending Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams out of the postseason. He would remain the Saints quarterback for the next five seasons, finishing his career in New Orleans with 19,156 yards, 120 touchdowns and 84 interceptions.
John Carney spent eight seasons of his 23-year career in the Big Easy. He is one of only seven players in NFL history to score over 2,000 points in his career. During his time in Black and Gold, Carney attempted 203 field goals while connecting on 168 of them. He holds the franchise record with 82.8 percent of his kicks made.
Finally, I’d like to extend my prayers out to former Saints’ special teams player, Steve Gleason. He submitted himself to the hospital on Monday where he underwent a “semi-planned tracheotomy” surgery to help facilitate his breathing. The surgery is basically performed to open up the windpipe. It is a common procedure for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Gleason has ben fighting with ALS and has also been helping others battle with the disease for years now. Let’s wish him a speedy recovery.
Busy days in professional football mean progress. The New Orleans Saints have been one of the most active teams since the offseason started and I expect it to remain that way until the 2014 NFL season kicks off. Training camp is just around the corner, Who Dat Nation.