The 2017 regular season begins with a nationally televised game on a Monday night for the New Orleans Saints. On September 11, just 17 days from now, the Saints travel north to meet the Minnesota Vikings. Canal Street Chronicles picks up our countdown to kickoff series, looking at some of the Saints players that have worn the No. 17.
Billy Kilmer (QB, 1967-1970)
Kilmer was selected in the 1967 expansion draft by the Saints after playing his first four years with the San Francisco 49ers. He started four games in New Orleans' inaugural season, finishing with an 0-4 record, but did have the league's longest completion that season, a 96-yard strike. He became the team's starting quarterback in 1968, finishing with a 4-7 record while throwing for 2,060 yards and 15 touchdowns, both ranking within the top 10 of the league.
Kilmer was even better in 1969, throwing for 2,532 yards and 20 touchdowns, although the Saints would finish just 5-9 on the year. Kilmer threw 6 touchdown passes during a victory against the St. Louis Cardinals that season. It was a team record that stood unmatched until Drew Brees threw 6 scores in a 2009 game, later broken by Brees with a 7 touchdown performance in 2015. Kilmer was traded to the Washington Redskins at the conclusion of the 1970 season, where he would have success over the last eight years of his career.
Kilmer was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 1990.
Jim Everett (1994-1996)
The Saints traded a late round draft pick to the Los Angeles Rams in 1994 to acquire
Chris Everett, who had finished in the top 6 in league passing yardage five out of his eight years with the Rams. The Saints finished 7-9 in each of his first 2 years with the team, with Everett throwing for 3,855 yards and 22 touchdowns in 1994 and 3,970 yards and 26 touchdowns in 1995. Although each of those marks were among the highest in the league, Everett was never able to lead New Orleans to a winning record, and after a 3-12 record as a starter in 1996, he left the Saints to play one final year with the San Diego Chargers.
Mitch Berger (P, 2003-2005)
Berger signed with New Orleans in 2003, his 9th year in the league. He averaged 43.7 yards per punt during his three years with the Saints, making the Pro Bowl in 2004, and finished in the top 5 in punting average twice during his New Orleans career.
Robert Meachem (2008-2011, 2012-2013)
Meachem was taken by the Saints with the 27th pick in the 1st round of the 2007 draft. Unable to play his rookie season after knee surgery, Meachem averaged 24.3 yards per reception and caught 3 touchdowns in his second year. He had a career high 722 yards receiving and his 9 receiving touchdowns tied him for the team lead in the Saints Super Bowl championship season of 2009.
The 2011 Saints had one of the most prolific passing offenses in NFL history, and Meachem contributed 620 yards receiving and 6 touchdowns during the year, adding 111 yards and a touchdown in a 1st round playoff victory over the Lions. After signing a free agent contract with the San Diego Chargers in 2012, Meachem returned to New Orleans in 2013 to play out the final two years of his career. He had 2,707 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns during his time with the Saints.
Other Saints players to wear No. 17: Speedy Thomas (1973-74), Rick Partridge (1979), Greg Camarillo (2012), T.J. Graham (2015), Kyle Prater (2016)
Who was your favorite Saints player to wear No. 17?
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