The New Orleans Saints regular season begins with a Monday night nationally televised game against the Minnesota Vikings. The game is September 11, just 33 days from today. Canal Street Chronicles continues our countdown to kickoff, today by looking at some of the Saints players that have worn the No. 33 throughout team history.
Mike Strachan (RB, 1975-1980)
Strachan made the team as a 9th round draft pick for the Saints in 1975. He led the team in rushing as a rookie with 668 yards, and his 30 receptions were second on the squad. Strachan's opportunities became more limited after that season, once the Saints drafted backs Chuck Muncie and Tony Galbreath in 1976. He served as a versatile backup behind the "Thunder and Lightning" duo of Muncie and Galbreath for the next five seasons, finishing with 2,294 yards from scrimmage and 14 rushing touchdowns over his six-year career. Strachan served 3 years in prison in 1982 for his involvement in a highly publicized drug case that involved several of his former New Orleans teammates testifying against him.
Tyrone Hughes (CB/KR, 1993-1996)
Hughes was a 1993 5th round draft choice by the Saints. He would go on to be recognized as one of the best kickoff and punt return men not only in franchise history, but a feared special teams playmaker throughout the league. Hughes had 2 punt return touchdowns and a kickoff return score in his rookie year. His 503 punt return yards and 13.7 average per return earned him Pro Bowl honors. He went on to lead the league in kickoff return yardage for three straight seasons, from 1994-'96, while adding two more return scores in 1994. As a defensive back, Hughes intercepted 4 career passes, and in 1994 returned 2 fumble recoveries for touchdowns. The special teams demon left the Saints after the 1996 season, playing one year each with Chicago and Dallas before retiring in 1998. Tyrone Hughes was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2015.
Ashley Ambrose (CB, 2003-2004)
Ambrose was an accomplished cornerback for 4 different teams in 13 seasons, including two stints with the New Orleans Saints, wearing the number 43 with the Saints during the 1999 season. He was reacquired prior to the 2003 season, and played the next two years wearing the No. 33. Ambrose intercepted 6 total passes between '03 and '04, returning one of them for a touchdown. He retired from the NFL in 2005, and currently serves as the defensive backs coach for Boise State University.
Jabari Greer (CB, 2010-2013)
The Saints signed Greer to a free agent contract prior to the 2009 season from the Buffalo Bills. Wearing No. 32, Greer was an intregal part of the Saints Super Bowl XLIV championship defense. Switching to number 33 in 2010, Greer started 52 games between 2010-13, intercepting 7 passes and returning one for a touchdown. He was regarded by many as the Saints best defensive back on teams that went to the playoffs 4 times during his tenure. A torn ACL cut Greer's career short, forcing him to retire at the age of 32.
Other Saints players to wear No. 33: Randy Schultz (1967-68), Steve Preece (1969), Kevin Gray (1982), Junior Thurman (1987), Ernest Spears (1990), Rob Kelly (1997), Wilmont Perry (1998-99), Moran Norris (2001), Joey Thomas (2005), Keith Joseph (2006), Olaniyi Sobomehin (2008), Stanley Jean-Baptiste (2014), Jamarca Sanford (2015)
Who was your favorite Saints player to wear No. 33?
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