We sit just 91 days away from the opening of the New Orleans Saints 2017 season, when they take on the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football. Canal Street Chronicles continues our own countdown with a look back at the players who have worn the number 91 in team history.
Some player information courtesy of Pro Football Reference.
Brady Smith (DE, 1996-1999)
Smith was drafted from Colorado State by New Orleans in the 3rd round of the 1996 draft. The "glory days" of the Jim Mora-era were over, and the Saints were in rebuilding mode on both sides of the ball. None of the New Orleans teams that Smith played with finished with a winning record. He did have 13 sacks with the Saints, with a high of 6 in 1999. Smith departed New Orleans for Atlanta following that year, and went on to have a solid career with the hated Falcons through the end of his career in 2005.
Grady Jackson (DT, 2002-2003)
Jackson was a huge (345 pounds) nose tackle who had an incredibly successful NFL career, but with six different teams. In just 21 games as a Saint, Jackson had 9.5 sacks, and was one of the better run defenders in the league. Unfortunately, Jackson had constant problems controlling his weight, and numerous run-ins with Saints coach Jim Haslett and his staff. He was suspended for "conduct detrimental to the team", then subsequently released before the halfway point of the 2003 season.
Will Smith (DE, 2004-2012)
The Saints made Smith the 18th overall pick in the 1st round of the 2004 draft. The Ohio State product made an immediate impact as a rookie, with 7.5 sacks and six forced fumbles in only four starts. Smith went on to sack the quarterback 67.5 times in his 9-year career, all with New Orleans. His high mark of 13 sacks came in the Saints Super Bowl season of 2009, when Smith was also part of a defensive playoff effort that held the high-powered offenses of Arizona, Minnesota, and Indianapolis in check.
Nagging injuries piled up later in Smith's career, but he is still recognized as one of the best defensive players in franchise history. He was voted onto the Saints 45th Anniversary team, and remained an active part in the Gulf Coast community following his retirement. Tragically, Smith was shot and killed following a traffic incident in April, 2016. Remembered as just as good a person off the field as he was a player on it, this event will have the New Orleans community reeling for years.
Currently wearing number 91 as the team nears training camp is defensive end Trey Hendrickson. The Saints have high hopes that Hendrickson, a third-round draft choice this spring, can provide the type of pass rush threat necessary to move the Saints from the bottom of the league defensively.
Other Saints to wear No. 91: Monte Bennett (1981), Ken Marchiol (1987), Robert Goff (1990-1995), Kasim Edebali (2014-2016)
Who was your favorite Saints player to wear No. 91?
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