Cornerback Anthony Gaitor was one of several CFL prospects brought in by the New Orleans Saints on a reserve/future deal in January. Some may recall that Gaitor was part of the over 15 players that tried out for the team back in December, and clearly did enough to earn a contract.
Unlike some players, Gaitor previously played in the NFL prior to latching on with the CFL’s B.C. Lions in 2016. As a former 2011 seventh-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gaitor played in 12 games with two career starts in his first two seasons. A torn ACL in Aug. 2013 put him on the sidelines for the year, and Gaitor would bounce around between the Dolphins, Buccaneers, and Cardinals in 2014.
2015 was a fairly quiet year for Gaitor, but he never lost hope. In February of 2016, Gaitor received an opportunity with the Lions, but would be released during roster cut-downs for the team. However, injuries struck the secondary, and Gaitor returned destined to make the most of it.
Gaitor finished his lone season in the CFL with 35 tackles in 11 games played, forcing a fumble and picking off two passes (scoring once) in the process. One particular play that you can watch was from Week 14 action against the Edmonton Eskimos. Gaitor sticks to his assigned receiver while staring at the quarterback, and he ends up jumping the route to pick the pass off.
On Jan. 9, Gaitor was granted free agent status by the Lions ahead of the CFL’s Feb. 14 free agency period. News had broke just three days earlier that the Saints were going to sign the cornerback.
“The Saints giving me an opportunity mean a lot to me!!! What inspired me the most about my journey, is that no matter what never give up. Through it all it showed me how no matter what - always chase your dream/goals,” Gaitor said.
Watching CFL action can be really confusing for the average football fan, especially with the mass amounts of motion used pre-snap. However, Gaitor feels that playing in the CFL against the running-start receivers allows him to really sharpen his defensive back skills, and he isn’t shy to take on bigger receivers at his 5-foot-10, 182-pound frame.
“My strength is that I can play inside and outside. I can play against big wide receivers. I can play any where in the secondary.”
And the Saints obviously can use that versatility.
Although the Canadian brethren runs deep within the Saints franchise, Gaitor hasn’t personally had the chance to talk to other secondary mates Erik Harris and Delvin Breaux, but will get to do so during OTAs.
As for this season, Gaitor reiterated that he’s determined to do what it takes over the next few months to at least threaten for a spot on the roster.
“I want the fans to know the Saints got a great, hard-working player!”
The Vancouver Sun’s Mike Beamish had this to say on Gaitor:
“When Gaitor did get to play with the Lions, it made one wonder why he'd been cut in the first place. He was opportunistic and had a nose for the football. I suspect the Saints were aware of him from his days at Florida International and with the Bucs.”
Gaining players that have that extra chip on their shoulder never hurts to have around, and with a last name like Gaitor, he’s sure to fit in down in the bayou.