3. Danny Abramowicz (1967-1973)
The expansion draft in 1967 welcomed the Saints as the newest team in the NFL. In that draft the team came away with 36 players. And honestly, most of them didn’t quite pan out.
Danny Abramowicz was one of the few that did. But he had to wait until the 17th round (pick number 420) to hear his name called. His underwhelming athleticism turned teams away, and even after he joined the Saints he still had to fight for his place.
He wasn’t even invited to the team’s minicamp, and when he was told that offseason that he wouldn’t be making the team, he replied; “I’m not leaving, you haven’t even given me a chance.”
Abramowicz was tough as nails, and played with a passion unlike any other receiver. But with a 40yd dash time around the 5 second mark, it seemed he had no business playing in the NFL.
That didn’t stop him. He was selected as a first-team All-Pro in the ’69 season with fellow teammate Tom Dempsey, the first players in Saints history to receive such an honor.
Lacking any semblance of athletic prowess, Abramowicz succeeded because of his sheer will-power and determination.
Saints kicker Tom dempsey remembers, “…he would always tell us this, but he, he knew that he would get hit every time he caught the ball – if the ball came close to him. So he may as well catch it. And that’s kinda the way he played.”
Abramowicz still sits in 4th place all-time for Saints career receiving yards, and 6th place for touchdowns.
There are a few candidates here for Abramowicz’s biggest moment; making the team in the first place, making first-team All Pro, setting his (then) record streak of 105 straight games with a reception.
But his defining moment has to be the 12 catch, 156 yard effort against his childhood hero Steelers in week 7 of the ’67 season. It was his first career start, and he would go on to lead all Saints receivers that year – even after spending the first 6 weeks confined to the bench.
The 14-10 loss to the Steelers that day would also unfortunately set the tone for a career filled with personal success for Abramowicz, but team failure for the Saints. While he was with the team they would never win more than 5 games in a single season.
Abramowicz still never took a play off.