The New Orleans Saints are just one month away from the beginning of their 2017 regular season. Just 30 days from now, the Saints will be lining up to take on the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night football. Canal Street Chronicles continues our countdown to kickoff series, today by looking back at some of the Saints players that have worn the No. 30.
Les Kelley (LB, 1967-1969)
Kelley has the designation of being the very first draft pick by the expansion New Orleans Saints in 1967. He was drafted out of Alabama with the 26th pick in the 1st round. The Saints had owned the top pick, but traded it to the Baltimore Colts in exchange for quarterback Gary Cuozzo. Kelley played 3 seasons in the NFL, all with the Saints, appearing in 30 games while recording 1 interception and 2 fumble recoveries.
Ernie Jackson (CB, 1972-1977)
Jackson was selected in the 7th round by New Orleans in the 1972 draft. As a rookie, he intercepted 3 passes, and returned a fumble recovery 85 yards for a touchdown. Jackson played six seasons for the Saints, intercepting 15 passes and recovering 8 fumbles for his career. He left New Orleans after the '77 season, playing two more years with the Falcons and Lions.
Wayne Wilson (RB, 1979-1986)
Wilson was originally a 12th round draft pick by the Houston Oilers in 1979, then signed as a free agent by New Orleans, going on to play eight seasons as an all-purpose fullback and kick returner for the team. Wilson was the Saints’ Mr. Dependable at running back for three different coaching staffs, able to capably block or even fill in for running backs Chuck Muncie, Tony Galbreath, George Rogers, and Earl Campbell over the years.
Wilson was second on the team in rushing yards and receptions during the strike shortened '82 season, while leading the team with 5 total touchdowns. Wilson's best year as a running back was 1983, when he finished second on the team with a career high 787 rushing yards. He led the team with 9 rushing touchdowns that year, along with pacing New Orleans running backs in receptions and receiving yards. Wilson joined the Minnesota Vikings during the 1986 season, before finishing his career with the Redskins the following year. Wilson had 3,979 yards from scrimmage during his Saints career, with a total of 30 touchdowns.
Anthony Newman (S, 1995-1997)
Newman began his career in 1988, as a 2nd round draft pick of the Los Angeles Rams. When the Rams moved from L.A. to St. Louis in 1995, Newman did not make the trip, instead joining the New Orleans Saints. By 1996 he was the team's starter at strong safety, tying for the team lead with 3 interceptions, and finishing second among defensive backs in tackles. He duplicated his 3 interceptions in 1997, finishing second on the team despite playing in only 12 games. Newman left New Orleans after the '97 season to play out his last two years as an Oakland Raider.
Erik Harris enters 2017 training camp in his second year as a Saint, and wearing No. 30. The former CFL star had his first season in New Orleans cut short due to injury, but hopes to progress on the potential he showed as a safety and special teamer in 2017.
Other Saints players to wear No. 30: Bob Shaw (1970), Billy Harris (1971), Vincent Alexander (1987), Cedric Smith (1991), Je'Rod Cherry (1998-1999), Chad Morton (2000), Fred McAfee (2006), Lynell Hamilton (2008-09), Trevin Wade (2013), Kenny Phillips (2015), Chris Owens (2015), Don Jones (2015), Akeem Davis (2015)
Who was your favorite Saints player to wear No. 30?
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