The 51st season of the New Orleans Saints officially begins just 15 days from today, with a Monday night road game against the Minnesota Vikings. Canal Street Chronicles resumes our countdown to kickoff series, with a look back at some of the Saints players that have worn the No. 15.
Gary Cuozzo (QB, 1967)
The expansion New Orleans Saints owned the first overall pick in the 1967 draft. They traded that pick to the Baltimore Colts to acquire Cuozzo, while the Colts used the pick to draft defensive end Bubba Smith. Cuozzo was 3-7 as a starter in his only year with the Saints, throwing for 1,562 yards with 7 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. After losing his starting job to Billy Kilmer, Cuozzo was traded to the Minnesota Vikings, where he would play for 4 seasons before ending his career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1972.
Rich Szaro (K, 1975-1978)
Ryszard (Rich) Szaro moved to the United States from Poland at the age of 15. After graduating from Harvard in 1971, he eventually became a kicker for the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League (WFL) before being signed to a free agent contract by New Orleans in 1975. In four years with the Saints, Szaro was successful on 37 field goals and 80 extra points. He led the NFL with a 78.3% field goal percentage in 1976. Szaro was released by the team in 1979, after New Orleans spent a 1st round pick on Russell Erxleben. He played one more season with the New York Jets before retiring. He eventually moved back to his home country of Poland, where he died in 2015 at 67 years old.
Courtney Roby (KR/WR, 2008-2012)
Roby, a former 3rd round pick by the Tennessee Titans in 2005, was added by the Saints as a free agent early in the 2008 season. He played in just five games before an injury ended his season. Roby caught just two passes in his entire 5-year career with New Orleans, but in 2009 and '10 made his mark as a feared special teams player and a dangerous kickoff returner.
Roby's average of 27.5 yards per kickoff return in 2009 ranked 3rd in the NFL, and he had a 97 yard return for a touchdown during the season. He averaged 25.6 yards per return during New Orleans' playoff run and eventual Super Bowl championship that season. He was again the team's leading kickoff returner and special teams ace in 2010, until suffering a serious neck injury late in the season. Roby did recover to play for New Orleans each of the next two years, and would finish the last year of his career with the Atlanta Falcons in 2014.
Other Saints players that have worn the No. 15: Charlie Durkee (1971-72), Bob Davis (1973), Donnie Gibbs (1974), Toni Fritsch (1982), Seantavious Jones (2014-15), Jake Lampman (current)
Who was your favorite Saints player to wear No. 15?
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