Now that the New Orleans Saints have won the Super Bowl, take a look back at the safeties that helped lay the groundwork for the Saints’ future success. This article ranks the top five safeties in Saints history.
5. Darren Sharper (2009-present)
In 2009, Darren Sharper had one of the greatest seasons for a safety in NFL history. After intercepting just one pass in 2008, most NFL teams thought Sharper’s best days were behind him. But the New Orleans Saints signed the free agent safety to their squad. During the Saints Super Bowl season, Sharper intercepted nine passes and returned three for touchdowns. Most impressive were his 376 interception yards, which set an NFL record. That year, Darren Sharper made the Pro Bowl and was first team All-Pro.
4. Brett Maxie (1985-1993)
When Brett Maxie left Texas Southern University, he was passed over by every team in the NFL draft. However, he made the New Orleans Saints roster in 1985. Finally, after playing mostly as a reserve in his first two years in the NFL, Maxie became a starter for the Saints in 1987. Originally playing the free safety position, Maxie switched to strong safety later in his career. During his nine years in New Orleans, Brett Maxie intercepted 15 passes which ranks eighth in Saints history.
3. Gene Atkins (1987-1993)
The other safety who played in New Orleans during Brett Maxie’s tenure was Gene Atkins. Like Maxie, Atkins did not receive much attention from NFL scouts. In fact, Gene Atkins fell all the way to the seventh round where he was selected by the New Orleans Saints out of Florida A & M in the 1987 NFL draft. In 1991, Atkins led the NFL with 198 yards off interceptions. In just seven seasons in New Orleans, Gene Atkins intercepted 21 passes which is fourth in Saints history.
2. Sammy Knight (1997-2002)
When Sammy Knight left the University of Southern California, most teams thought he was too slow to play safety in the NFL. So in 1997, he signed with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent. Not only did he make the team, but he also became a starter. As a Saint, Knight intercepted 28 passes which ranks third in team history. Also, Knight returned four interceptions for touchdowns, best in New Orleans history. In 2000, Sammy Knight helped the Saints win their division and was named to the NFL Pro Bowl.
1. Tommy Myers (1972-1981)
At a time when the New Orleans Saints possessed a horrendous defense, safety Tommy Myers was clearly the best player on that squad. Drafted in the third round of the 1972 NFL draft out of Syracuse, Myers intercepted at least one pass in each of the 10 seasons he played in New Orleans. Myers had his finest season in 1979 when he helped the Saints to their first non-losing season in team history. That year, he intercepted seven passes and made the NFL Pro Bowl. Tommy Myers ranks second in Saints history with 36 interceptions and is a member of the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame.
Statistical data found at pro football reference
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