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Countdown to New Orleans Saints Kickoff: A History of No. 28

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Four weeks now separate us from Saints football returning!

Gene Atkins

The New Orleans Saints are only 28 days away from the official start of their 2017 season. The first game that counts in the standings comes on a Monday night for the Saints, who will travel north to face the Minnesota Vikings in a prime time match up. Canal Street Chronicles continues our march towards opening night, today by looking back at some of the Saints players who have worn the No. 28.

Alvin Maxon (RB, 1974-1976)

Maxon was drafted from S.M.U. in the 8th round of the 1974 draft by New Orleans, and immediately worked his way into the starting lineup. His 714 rushing yards and 42 receptions in 1974 both led the team. He again led the Saints in receptions the following season, with 41, as well as adding a team leading 3 rushing touchdowns. Maxon would depart the Saints for the Pittsburgh Steelers after a decrease in his playing time in the 1976 season, playing for 4 more teams before the end of his career in 1979.

Gene Atkins (S, 1987-1993)

Atkins, father of Cincinnati Bengals All-Pro defensive lineman Geno Atkins, came to the Saints as a 7th round draft choice in 1987, contributing 3 interceptions to the first winning record in New Orleans franchise history. He would lead the team with 4 interceptions in 1988, before working his way into the lineup as a full-time starter in 1989. From 1990-93, Atkins started all 64 games for the Saints. His best year was 1991, when he led the Saints with 5 interceptions, including an NFL-high 198 yards in interception returns. He also finished second on the team in tackles, while adding 3 quarterback sacks. Atkins left the Saints after the 1993 season, playing his final 3 years with the Miami Dolphins. Over his 7 year career with the Saints, Gene Atkins had 21 interceptions, 7 sacks, and forced or recovered a total of 24 fumbles.

Usama Young (CB, 2008-2010)

Young was selected in the 3rd round of the 2008 draft by the Saints. He would be a key special teams performer and reserve defensive back for four seasons in New Orleans, including the 2009 Super Bowl championship squad. He intercepted 3 passes, recovered 2 fumbles, and added a QB sack during his time with the Saints, before departing as a free agent in 2011 with the Cleveland Browns.

Mark Ingram (RB, 2011-2012)

Ingram was selected in the 1st round of the 2011 draft by New Orleans. The former Heisman trophy winner from Alabama has worn the No. 22 for the Saints since the 2013 season, and will certainly be talked of more later in our countdown. His first two years with New Orleans, Ingram donned the number 28 for the Saints. He shared backfield snaps with other talented backs Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, and Darren Sproles in his rookie year. Despite that, Ingram still had the most rushing attempts and rushing touchdowns on the team in 2011, finishing second in rushing yardage for one of the most prolific offenses in NFL history. Despite starting five games in 2012, Ingram led the Saints in rushing yardage (602), attempts (156), and touchdowns (5). We will pick up Ingram's New Orleans career a bit later in our countdown.

Keenan Lewis (CB, 2013-2014)

A native of New Orleans, Lewis came "home" in 2013, signing a free agent contract with the Saints after spending his first four years with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Lewis' coverage skills at cornerback immediately solidified the New Orleans secondary, vaulting the defense near the top of the league, as Lewis led the team with 4 interceptions and 20 passes defensed. He again led the team with 13 passes defensed in 2014, and his 2 interceptions tied him for the team lead. Lewis switched his jersey number to 21 for the 2015 season, but a series of leg and hip injuries limited him to just six games of action, and brought an end to his playing career after that season.

NFL: New Orleans Saints-Training Camp Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson will wear No. 28 for the Saints in 2017. After a 10-year career as a Minnesota Viking, with rushing numbers that rival those of the all-time greats, the Saints signed Peterson to a free agent contract this spring. The hope is that Peterson will team with Mark Ingram to give New Orleans a lethal 1-2 punch at running back to go along with Drew Brees and their prolific passing attack.

Other Saints players to wear No. 28: Ross Fichtner (1968), Don Shy (1969), James Ford (1971-72), Bill Hurley (1982-83), Greg Harding (1984), Derrick Hoskins (1996), Troy Davis (1997-99), Chris Oldham (2000-01), Curtis Keaton (2002), Deveron Harper (2003-04), Anthony Thomas (2005), Siddeeq Shabazz (2005), DeJuan Groce (2006), C.J. Spiller (2015-16), B.W. Webb (2016)

Poll

Who was your favorite Saints player to wear No. 28?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Alvin Maxon
    (7 votes)
  • 50%
    Gene Atkins
    (130 votes)
  • 3%
    Usama Young
    (10 votes)
  • 25%
    Mark Ingram
    (65 votes)
  • 17%
    Keenan Lewis
    (44 votes)
256 votes total Vote Now