This morning's editions of the Times-Picayune and nola.com's Saints page spring to life with Mike Triplett's extended feature article on our beloved Deuce McAllister.
With the Saints again in the position of possibly landing a franchise running back with their pick late in the first round if/when a highly-touted prospect drops farther than anyone expects, this is a timely homage that chronicles how he came to be a Saint and how that worked out for Deuce, the Saints, and the city.
Make the jump for some highlights from the article and to sound off with your own thoughts on Deuce and the Saints...
Heading into the 2001 draft, the New Orleans Saints ran through countless mock drafts and what-if scenarios. And though it seemed far-fetched, they felt like there was a possibility that Ole Miss tailback Deuce McAllister might fall to them at the 23rd pick.
So, the Saints were prepared for that possibility, and when he was still available, they jumped at the chance to select him.
"I think everybody agreed it was a pretty simple answer: You have to take him," recalled former Saints offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy. "It was a no-brainer."
And in reflecting on Deuce's impressive career with the requisite 20/20 hindsight, none of those involved in that personnel move had any doubts about it being the right one:
"That's an easy one. No question. That's the best pick we made in my tenure in New Orleans," said (Rick) Mueller, who was with the Saints from 2000 to 2008.
"You can't ask for a better draft pick," agreed former Saints Coach Jim Haslett, "especially for this community and Saints fans, a homegrown guy and what he did for that organization and that community."
"Deuce McAllister was a special guy," Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis said. "I don't know how you rank players on your all-time list of most important players, but clearly he's in the top two or three of all time. And look, I'm biased, because I was a part of the group that drafted him ... but he's exactly what you draw up when you picture someone to represent your organization."
"I just smile when I hear his name," said Randy Mueller, the former general manager of the Saints. "He's one of my favorites in 28 years of being in this business."
*Trivia sidebar - Randy Mueller was the MVP of the 1982 NAIA Division II National Championship Game. Click his name above for the citation.
Deuce eschewed the NFL's invitation to attend the hoopla in New York, and instead opted for a gathering at his mother's home with family and friends. The special day didn't turn out exactly as he had hoped, when he kept dropping in the first round, and things got a bit awkward (but at least he wasn't on-camera in the Green Room).
McAllister said people probably didn't know how to act around him, debating whether to console him or ignore him once he was passed up by the Browns at No. 3, the Patriots at No. 6, the 49ers at No. 7 and the Bears at No. 8.
"Particularly, I think Chicago, they were really high on me. After that I probably stepped out of the house just to get some air and let some time pass," McAllister said. "I played some basketball, just to get my mind off it. But I had my cell phone by me."
The article goes on with quotes and comments on why he wasn't drafted higher, his playing style, and special moments of his time with the Saints, as both a player and a man.
I highly recommend everyone go over to nola.com and read the entire article, then come back here and share your Deuce comments below. Here are some questions to prime the pump.
What did you think when the Saints drafted him?
What is (are) your favorite Deuce moment(s)?
What are your thoughts on Deuce: the man, the myth, and the legend?