The 2017 regular season begins on a Thursday evening, but Saints fans will have to wait four extra days to watch their team take take the field. On Monday, September 11, New Orleans will open their regular season on the road, as they take on the Minnesota Vikings.
The game is just 36 days away, and Canal Street Chronicles continues our countdown as well. Today we will look back at some of the Saints players that have worn the No. 36 throughout the team's history.
Don McCall (RB, 1967-1968, 1970)
McCall was a 5th round pick by the expansion Saints in the 1967 draft. Although he did have one rushing and one receiving score during his rookie season, he was used somewhat sparingly. His second year, 1968, was much more productive, as McCall's 637 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground each led the team. His 26 receptions were second on the team, leading all backs, as he added 2 more receiving touchdowns. He left the Saints in 1969 and played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, mainly as a kick return specialist, returning to the Saints for just a few games during the 1970 season.
Reuben Mayes (RB, 1986-1990)
Mayes burst onto the scene as a 3rd round pick with the Saints in 1986, earning a Pro Bowl berth and leading the team in rushing with 1,353 yards and 8 touchdowns. He almost had a repeat 1,000 yard campaign in the strike-shortened 1982 season, with 917 yards rushing, 5 touchdowns, and another Pro Bowl bid in just 12 games. Mayes missed the 1989 season due to Achilles surgery.
Nagging injuries, and the emergence of Dalton Hilliard and Craig Heyward would limit Mayes' touches through the '88 and '90 seasons, although he did lead the team with 7 rushing touchdowns in 1990. He was traded to the Seattle Seahawks after the '90 season, where he would play two injury-plagued seasons until his retirement in 1993. Reuben Mayes was elected into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2004.
Lamar Smith (RB, 1998, 2003)
Smith actually played three years with the Saints, wearing No. 36 in 1998, then switching to No. 26 for the '99 season. He then left New Orleans to be a workhorse back for the Miami Dolphins in the 2000 and '01 seasons, played 2002 in Carolina before returning to New Orleans for 4 games in 2003, again donning the number 36. Smith led the '98 Saints in rushing yards, with 437, while also leading all New Orleans backs with 249 yards receiving.
Wearing the number 36 for his second year in the league will be running back Daniel Lasco. As a 7th round draft pick from Cal in 2016, Lasco made his mark mainly on special teams before injury cut his season short. He does show potential as a runner, and will be attempting to carve his role in a crowded Saints backfield that contains Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara, and Adrian Peterson.
Other Saints players to wear No. 36: Dick Davis (1970), Vic Nyvall (1970), Don Burchfield (1971), Robert Brown (1972-73), Andrew Jones (1975-76), Greg Boykin (1977), Stanford Jennings (1991), Derrick Ned (1993-95), Corey Harris (1999), Michael Hawthorne (2000-02), Corey McIntyre (2006), Darian Barnes (2008), Kyle Eckel (2009), Marcus Ball (2014)
Who was your favorite Saints player to wear No. 36?
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