We pick back up our Top 50 New Orleans Saints of All-Time series, in honor of the team’s 50th Anniversary season. Here’s a brief recap of our previous selections, as we present to you No. 45-41.
50. Tracy Porter
49. Scott Fujita
48. John Carney
47. Dave Whitsell
46. Tommy Barnhardt
45. Tyrone Hughes (1993-1996)
Tyrone Hughes was elected to the Saints Hall of Fame in 2015. He attended school locally at St. Augustine in New Orleans, and doubled as a track star. Hughes was electrifying as a returner, and was selected to the 1993 Pro Bowl as a rookie.
In 1994, Hughes had one of the best games imaginable against the then Los Angeles Rams. Hughes set an NFL record for the most return yards in a single game with 304, most combined return yards in a single game with 347, and tied a record for two kickoff return touchdowns in a single game.
44. Thomas Morstead (2009-Present)
Thomas Morstead is our first current player to make the Top 50 list. Morstead will forever be known for the 'Ambush' play in the Super Bowl against the Indianapolis Colts. Commonly known to Who Dat Nation as 'The Leg', Morstead is one of our favorite social media personalities on the team, and we definitely love his work off the field through What You Give Will Grow. He's actually a really good punter and kick off specialist too, being among the NFL's greatest punters in multiple categories.
43. Michael Lewis (2001-2006)
Michael Lewis, or The Beer Man, never played college football. He did play in several semi-professional football leagues, and latched on with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2000. However, it was short lived. Lewis would be cut prior to the regular season, and served as a Budweiser delivery truck driver in New Orleans.
The Saints would give Lewis a chance by signing him late in the 2000 season, and sending him over to NFL Europe in 2001. In 2002, Lewis set an NFL record for combined kick and punt return yardage with 2,432 total yards. Lewis is the all-time franchise leader in punt returns (142) and punt return yardage (1,482), and now serves as a team ambassador for the Saints. He was also selected to the 2015 Saints Hall of Fame.
42. Tom Dempsey (1969-1970)
Tom Dempsey didn't spend a lot of time with the New Orleans Saints, but his impact was felt for some time. Dempsey was born without toes on right foot and fingers on his right hand. That never stopped him from kicking, as a special shoe was made for him to do so.
Before modern-day kicking, Dempsey set the NFL record for the longest field goal made at 63 yards on November 8, 1970. His kick helped the Saints win over the Detroit Lions 19-17, which was one of their only two victories of the season. Dempsey's record was originally tied by Denver's Jason Elam in 1998, and eventually broken some 43 years later (2013) by another Broncos kicker, Matt Prater.
41. Joe Johnson (1994-2001)
With the 13th overall selection in the 1994 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints drafted defensive end Joe Johnson out of Louisville. In his first 5 seasons, Johnson racked up 29.5 sacks, earning a Pro Bowl choice in 1998. Johnson also scored a touchdown in that season off of a fumble recovery. Unfortunately, he'd miss all the 1999 season due to a knee injury.
However, Johnson came back better than ever in the 2000 season, racking up 12.0 sacks, earning another Pro Bowl selection, All-Pro honors, and being named the AP and PFWA Comeback Player of the Year. His last season in New Orleans saw him finish with 9.0 sacks, and is still the franchise's 6th all-time sack leader with 50.5 sacks.