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Countdown to New Orleans Saints Kickoff: A History of No. 42

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The Monday Night Football opener is now just six weeks away from the Saints!

New England Patriots v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

In just six weeks, 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. 42. This jersey number typically identifies fullbacks, running-backs, linebackers, and occasionally hybrid defensive ends. Unlike my journey through the 70s, this segment of the list has many candidates.

Jason David (CB, 2007 - 2008)

The name Jason David is akin to swearing around these parts. If you really want to insult a guy, say he's as bad as 'he who shall not be named'. Watch how quickly the melee ensues! For those who do not know the story, here are the cliff notes: After 3 letter-man seasons of collegiate play at Washington State, David was drafted 125th overall by the Indianapolis Colts in 2004. After 'helping' the Colts win a Super Bowl in 2006, the 5'8” cornerback signed a four year offer sheet with the Saints which went unmatched. In his regular season Saints debut, David was torched by his former team, yielding many catches and yards. His brightest moment was a strip/forced fumble (after allowing a catch by Reggie Wayne) that he returned 55 yards for the Saints only touchdown of the game. The rest of his Saints stint would be rocky and the team would release him in August of 2009, robbing him of a potential second SB ring. Maybe.

Chuck Muncie (RB, 1976-1980)

Muncie was drafted 3rd overall by the New Orleans Saints in the 1976 draft. He joined the team after finishing 2nd in Heisman voting in 1975. Chuck was one half of the 'Thunder and Lightning' duo with Tony Galbreath. In his final season as a Saint, Muncie broke the 1,000 yard rushing mark and became the first Saints player to do so and earned a Pro Bowl nod as well. He was traded to the San Diego Chargers midway through the 1980 season and earned two additional Pro Bowls from 1980-1984. Muncie is widely known for his struggles with drug abuse and while under contract with the Chargers in 1983, he checked into rehab for three weeks before returning tot he team in time for the season. It was all downhill after that as Muncie missed a team flight to a game, and was sent home. A trade was attempted with the Miami Dolphins but the drug test revealed cocaine and the trade was voided. He then returned to rehab, but was also suspended by the NFL. Upon reinstatement in 1985, Muncie was traded to the Minnesota Vikings and started out well, only to retire to focus on his rehabilitation. Muncie had three siblings play professional football, such a talented lot.

John Gilliam (WR, 1967-1968, 1977)

Gilliam was drafted 52nd overall by the Saints in 1967. Known as a speedster after clocking 9.5 seconds in the 100 yard dash in college, he played 2 seasons in New Orleans before really hitting his stride with the Minnesota Vikings after a 3 year stop with the St. Louis Cardinals. Gilliam was elected to the Pro Bowl all four years with the Vikes and played in two Super Bowls. He would then bounce to the Atlanta Falcons in 1976, the Chicago Bears in 1977, then back to the Saints in 1977 as well. Gilliam holds a historic place in Saints lore as he returned the opening kickoff of the inaugural game for a 94 yard touchdown. As with many of the talented players of the early Saints teams, their best years were spent with other teams enjoying success or at least winning seasons and trips to the playoffs. In 11 seasons, Gilliam accounted for 48 touchdowns and over 7,000 yards.

Darren Sharper (S, 2009-2010)

On the field, Sharper was a key ingredient for the Saints’ success on defense in their Super Bowl season. Appearing in 14 games for the team, Sharper tied a career-high with 9 interceptions, turning three into touchdowns. He certainly brought a swagger to the secondary, and looked to do a repeat performance in 2010. However, he started his season on PUP, returning to the Saints in late October to play in eight games to start in just one. After that year, Sharper never played another NFL game, and the legal problems mounted.

Pierre Warren (S, 2014, 2014-2015)

Warren is an example of the classic training camp 'all-star'. As an undrafted rookie in 2014, Pierre was impressive in camp and the preseason, defending passes and even intercepting the ball. The reality of 2014 was that the Saints had extreme depth at safety and he did not make it through cuts being cut in August, signed to the practice squad in September, then released again six days later. The Vikings signed Warren to their practice squad in October and he was plucked away by the Saints a month later. Warren would start the final 6 games of 2014 and recorded 35 tackles, 2 interceptions (both in one game), 1 forced fumble and fumble recovery. Pierre headed to the CFL in 2016 but left the Ottawa RedBlacks after one practice. He last seen as a participant in the newest off-brand football league 'The Spring League' in 2017.

Other Saints players to wear #42: Fred Weary, Jerry Wilson, Jim Strong, Joel Parker, Toussaint Tyler, Claxton Welch, Willie Clay, Ray Wilson, Travis Feeney, and Dana Mclemore

Poll

Who was your favorite Saints player to wear No. 42?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    Chuck Muncie
    (82 votes)
  • 44%
    Darren Sharper
    (87 votes)
  • 1%
    Jason David (But why?)
    (3 votes)
  • 11%
    John Gilliam
    (23 votes)
195 votes total Vote Now