Dec 28, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints outside linebacker Junior Galette (93) sacks Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown (12) in the end-zone for a safety as the Saints beat the Buccaneers 23-20 at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday, New Orleans Saints linebacker Junior Galette accomplished something that has not been done in the Sean Payton Era. In fact, it hasn’t been done in over a decade. That accomplishment? Finishing out as a double-digit sack artist.
Charles Grant was the last Saints defensive player to finish consecutive seasons with ten or more sacks, when he did so in 2003 and 2004. Grant finished with 10.0 sacks in 2003, and 10.5 sacks in 2004.
After finishing 2013 with a career best 12 sacks, Galette followed up that performance with 10 sacks in 2014. Galette had two multi-sack games on the road against the Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears.
What was arguably most admirable about Galette’s play was the fact that he played hurt (knee injury), and was on the field on a very limited basis. However, he made the most of it, and had yet another game changing play against the Buccaneers when he sacked Josh McCown for a safety to seal the Saints 23-20 victory late in the game.
Although Galette didn’t achieve his big roster bonus from the incentive clause in his contract for obtaining 12 sacks this year, he continues to see the bigger picture, and offers a very humble approach.
"“I don’t have the answers. I know that. I know for a fact I don’t have the answers. All I can do is go out there and give 100 percent, and if someone is down I’m gonna try to lift them up as much as I can and just be a leader on this team.”"
In such a chaotic season, it’s good to at least be able to celebrate something.
Galette has had quite a year, as he finally got his pay-day, signing a four-year contract extension with the Saints back in September. He was showered with basketballs in his locker, as he said that he couldn’t afford one as a kid. Galette was also appointed as a Team Captain to begin the year.
"“I love being a Saint, love being in New Orleans. I love the city and I feel like people love me back,” he said. “I could have (waited). But how much is enough? I feel like, if you’re not content with what they gave me, you’ll never be content."
If you’re not familiar with Galette’s back story, I implore you to check it out. I can’t exactly do it justice, but know that Galette came over from Haiti when he was 10 years old after his parents left for the states when he was 6-8 months old. His college journey was quite bumpy, but the Saints gave him a shot as an undrafted free agent in 2010.
Galette, who will turn 27 in March, should bounce back in a huge way in 2015 (Fear The Beard), and is contracted to remain on the Saints until he turns 31.