Ahead of the 2020 season the New Orleans Saints lost one of their best safeties in Vonn Bell. The Saints secondary took a significant hit, but Mickey Loomis and company did not sit idly by and watch one of their most improved units degrade. Instead, they took action and signed veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins.
Now, this was not Jenkins first stint with the Saints, as many New Orleanians remember, Jenkins played a large part in bringing the city its first Super Bowl. As such, Jenkins had quite a few suitors and justifiably so. He would eventually sign with the Philadelphia Eagles, but it is hard to resist the pull of the greatest city on earth. As soon as he had the chance, he was right back in New Orleans, but this time he wasn’t the young gun. No, he had a role to play in helping a young secondary continue its upward trajectory, and he excelled in his role with the new expectations.
Statistically, 2020 was kind to Jenkins. He tied a career-high three interceptions, and made 91 tackles, well above his career average. He clearly thrived in the Saints defensive scheme under Dennis Allen, but his real value came in his leadership. Ahead of the season Jenkins was a vocal member of the team in the fight against racial injustice as the headlines around the country in 2020. Jenkins was an advocate not just for his team, or his community, but for human justice.
That type of leadership is hard to find in today’s NFL. Most of the time you have to pay premium for it. Instead, Jenkins decided he would come home, mentor the young secondary, and be a leader in his community. Statistically it was a success. Socially, it was a triumph for those who felt the affects of social injustice across the country during the difficult times of 2020.
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