In 73 days, on Sept. 11, the Minnesota Vikings will host the New Orleans Saints, in the 2017 season opener for both teams. Canal Street Chronicles continues our own series of countdown to kickoff, today we take a look at a few Saints players that have worn the No. 73. As most sports fans know, this jersey number typically identifies offensive and defensive linemen, making this a pretty short list of large men.
Jahri Evans (OG, 2006-2015, 2016)
Evans tops this list of 73s as the most accomplished in a Saints uniform and nearly the longest career of all 73s. Jahri is a 6x Pro Bowler, 4x 1st team All-Pro, 2x Madden most valuable protector award winner, and Super Bowl 44 champion. The 2006 4th round pick also earned a spot on the Saints 50th Anniversary team. After testing the waters in camp with the Seattle Seahawks during 2016 camp, Evans was cut and later re-signed with the Saints and helped lead the way for Mark Ingram’s first 1,000 yard rushing season of his career. Evan’s fun fact: Jahri attended college on academic scholarship after graduating high school 10th in his class.
Frank Warren (DE/DT, 1981-1994)
Warren was drafted by the Saints in the third round of the 1981 draft. He is considered a rock solid Saint from the dark days of black and gold football. Warren gave the team all 14 years of his NFL career and accumulated 52 1⁄2 sacks while playing at defensive end and defensive tackle, he also collected 1 interception. There is a twist of irony as this Saints legend was lost to a heart attack at the age of 43 and now the team will be without Nick Fairley due to heart condition, both players are former Auburn Tigers. Warren was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame and is often remembered when the days of the past are recalled.
Bill Sandeman (OT, 1967)
As you all should have gathered by now, I plan to share some historical Saints triumphs and some flops. I present to you, exhibit A, the short career of Sandeman. Bill was the 27th player selected in the 1967 expansion draft along with Paul Hornung (HoF), Billy Kilmer (Saints HoF), and Dave Whitsell (1st Saints Pro Bowler). Hornung never played a down in New Orleans and Sandeman was released after just 2 games. Sandeman was picked up the Atlanta Falcons and became a starter then retired due to multiple injuries in 1975.
Joe Campbell (DE, 1977-1980)
Campbell is one of the many former Saints players to have soldiered through some of the darkest days. After being drafted 7th overall in 1977, he was a member of the first Saints team to finish with a .500 record in 1979, the next non-losing season wouldn’t happen until 1983. Midway through 1980, Campbell was traded to the Oakland Raiders and was essentially gifted a championship ring after the raiders went on to win the Super Bowl. Fast fact: Back in 2011 (the Canal Street Chronicles glory days), Campbell was listed as the #6 draft bust in Saints history. Check it out here!
This series is taking me on a crazy ride through Saints history and I really dig it. I’ve discovered some interesting facts about the troublesome early years and the large amount of ‘star’ players who lacked sizzle after joining the Saints. I hope that you continue to share any facts that I may miss and stay on this journey to kickoff.