The 2017 regular season is less than four weeks away for the New Orleans Saints. The team opens it's 2017 journey on the road, just 27 days from now, with a game against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night football. Canal Street Chronicles continues our journey to opening day as well, with a look back at some of the Saints players that have worn the No. 27.
Walter "Flea" Roberts (WR, 1967)
Roberts was a member of the first New Orleans Saints team in 1967, after spending his first three seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He was supposed to be the return man on the inaugural kickoff in franchise history against the Los Angeles Rams, when teammate John Gilliam stepped beside of him instead to field the kick. Gilliam, of course, returned that 1st play into a 94-yard touchdown for one of the most famous plays in franchise history.
Roberts would go on to make his own mark on Saints history less than two months later, during the team's 1st win in franchise history. The Saints had lost their first 7 games, until a 31-24 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles, where Roberts returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown, returned a teammate's fumble 27 yards for another score, and added a 49-yard touchdown reception late in the game for the victory. Roberts was second on the Saints in receiving yardage and touchdowns that first season, while leading the team in kick return yards. That inaugural '67 season was "Flea" Roberts only season with New Orleans. He went on to play his final two years with the Washington Redskins.
Ray Brown (S, 1978-1980)
Brown joined the Saints in 1978 after a seven year career with the Atlanta Falcons. He intercepted 7 passes over his three year career with the team, including 4 in 1978, tying for second best on the team.
Aaron Stecker (RB, 2004-2008)
Stecker signed with the Saints as a free agent prior to the 2004 season after beginning the first four years of his career with Tampa Bay. Primarily used as a receiving threat as a reserve running back, Stecker averaged 30 receptions over his first four years with the Saints. His best season was 2007, when his career high of 448 yards rushing was second on the team, added a team leading 5 rushing scores, while catching a career high 36 passes. A torn hamstring ended his season early in 2008, and he would end his career with the Atlanta Falcons the following year.
Malcolm Jenkins (S, 2009-2013)
Jenkins was selected in the first round (14th overall) by New Orleans in the 2009 draft. He started six games for the Saints Super Bowl championship team of '09, intercepting a pass and forcing 2 fumbles during the season. He added 2 more interceptions as a full-time starter in 2010, returning one of the picks 96 yards for a touchdown, along with a team high 12 passes defensed. Jenkins was second on the team in tackles in 2011, while scoring another touchdown on a fumble return. He found the end zone again during the 2012 season, returning his only interception of the year 55 yards for a touchdown.
Jenkins left the Saints after the 2013 season, signing a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, and entering his 4th season with the team. During his five-year career with the Saints, Malcolm Jenkins intercepted 6 passes, recorded 4.5 sacks, forced or recovered 11 fumbles, and scored 3 defensive touchdowns.
Other Saints players to wear No. 27: Bobby Thompson (1969), Rod McNeill (1974-75), Greg Stemrick (1983), Antonio Gibson (1986-89), Selwyn Jones (1994), Reggie Jones (1991-94), Vashone Adams (1997), Rob Kelly (2000), Ken Irvin (2002), James Fenderson (2001-03), Edwin Baker (2014), Damian Swann (2015-16)
Who was your favorite Saints player to wear No. 27?
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