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Countdown to New Orleans Saints Kickoff: A History of No. 54

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Our countdown to Saints kickoff resumes at 54.

Smith tackles Pollard Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints look to reverse the fortunes of three straight 7-9 finishes to the regular season in 2017. The first step, of course, comes in Week 1 of the regular season. This season, that game comes on a Monday night road matchup on the road against the Minnesota Vikings, just 54 days from today.

Canal Street Chronicles continues our countdown to kickoff as well; today we look at the past Saints players that have worn the No. 54.

Pat Hughes (LB, 1977-1979)

Hughes joined the Saints in 1977 after playing his first seven years with the New York Giants. He did play in all 14 of the New Orleans games that season, starting 8, then started all 32 of the Saints games over the next two years. Hughes did have a penchant for creating turnovers, proven by his 7 interceptions and 3 fumble recoveries during his three years as a Saint. Hughes' 4 interceptions during 1979, his final season in the league, led all Saints linebackers in a year where the team finished with it's first non-losing record in franchise history.

Winfred Tubbs (LB, 1994-1997)

Tubbs was selected in the 3rd round of the 1994 draft by the Saints out of the University of Texas. His playing time was somewhat limited over his first two seasons, but still saw action in 20 games, contributing 2 interceptions and 2 sacks. By 1996, Tubbs had moved into the starting middle linebacker role, a position he would hold for the next two years. He was the Saints leader in total tackles (solo and assists) in both 1996 and 1997, earning all-NFC recognition in both seasons. Tubbs had 10.5 sacks, 5 interceptions, and 8 fumbles either forced or recovered during his Saints career. He left New Orleans after the 1997 season to join the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent, where he would play the final 3 years of his career.

Darrin Smith (LB, 2000-2004)

New Orleans brought in Smith, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Cowboys, in as a free agent in 2000 to fill a void at middle linebacker. His addition would pay immediate dividends, as Smith recorded 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and 2 interceptions with a defensive touchdown for the NFC West Champion Saints. He went on to start from the middle for the next three seasons as well, in particular using his great speed to provide outstanding pass coverage. Injuries limited his action in 2004, ultimately forcing his retirement after the season. Smith was consistently among the team's leading tacklers, adding 6 sacks and 5 interceptions over his time in New Orleans.

Linebacker Nate Stupar will enter his second year with the Saints wearing No. 54. He played all 16 contests for New Orleans in 2016, which was his fifth team in his first 5 NFL seasons. Stupar helped stabilize New Orleans’ linebacking corps beset by injury and plagued by recent years of ineffective play. He managed to start 6 games, recovering 2 fumbles to go along with an interception and a sack.

Other Saints players to wear No. 54: Joe Wendryhoski (1967-68), Tom Roussel (1971-72), Dale Lindsey (1973), Rick Middleton (1974-75), Paul Ryczek (1981), Ed Simonini (1982), Bill Roe (1987), Alvin Toles (1985-88), Ink Aleaga (1998-99), Danny Clark (2006), Troy Evans (2007-09), Ramon Humber (2010-11), Will Herring (2011-13), Jo-Lonn Dunbar (2015)

Poll

Who was your favorite Saints player to wear No. 54?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Pat Hughes
    (23 votes)
  • 41%
    Winfred Tubbs
    (60 votes)
  • 42%
    Darrin Smith
    (61 votes)
144 votes total Vote Now