The 2017 regular season will be begin for the New Orleans Saints on a trip north, as they travel to Minneapolis, MN. for a Monday night showdown against the Vikings on Sept. 11. The game itself is 61 days from now, and Canal Street Chronicles continues our countdown of the days with a look at the Saints players that have worn the No. 61 through their history.
Del Williams (OG, 1967-1973)
Williams was a 3rd round draft choice for the very first New Orleans Saints team in 1967. He played at Florida State, where he is a member of the school's all-time team. He appeared in 70 straight contests for New Orleans through the end of the 1971 season as a regular starter at offensive guard. Williams departed the Saints after the 1973 season to play one year with the Florida Blazers of the World Football League. Williams sadly passed away in November 1984 due to ALS.
Joel Hilgenberg (C, 1984-1993)
The Saints got a player with deep NFL bloodlines when they drafted Hilgenberg in the 4th round of the 1984 draft from Iowa. Joel's older brother Jay would go on to be a great lineman for the Chicago Bears, and the two would actually be teammates with New Orleans in 1993. Uncle Wally was a longtime terrific linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings as well.
Joel proved up to the task of his high family standards. He would play in 142 games through his ten year career with the Saints, starting 97 of those contests. Hilgenberg was part of an offensive line that oversaw the first winning season, playoff berth, and divisional championships in franchise history. The Hilgenberg's careers both ended following the 1993 season. Joel was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2006.
Montrae Holland (OG, 2003-2006)
The Saints drafted Holland with a 4th round pick in the 2003 draft. The Florida State star appeared in all 16 games, including 7 starts. He went on to start 23 games over the following two seasons as well, contributing mightily to Saints great Deuce McAllister's rushing totals. Holland left the Saints after the 2006 season to join the Denver Broncos for one season, before finishing up his final three seasons as a Dallas Cowboy.
Other Saints to wear No. 61: Roger Finnie (1979), Sam Adams (1981), Greg Loberg (1987), Ed King (1995-97), Nate Bussey (2011), Josh LeRibeus (present)
Who was your favorite Saints player to wear No. 61?
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