The New Orleans Saints begin their 2017 regular season 57 days from today, with a Monday night game on the road against the Minnesota Vikings. Canal Street Chronicles has been walking us through the Saints numerical history, and today we look at one of the best linebackers in NFL history.
Jim Merlo (LB, 1973-1979)
Merlo joined New Orleans as a 4th round pick in the 1973 draft, and started 9 games as a rookie. He never missed a game over his six year Saints career, and was known for his playmaking abilities. Merlo led the NFL in 1978 with 5 fumble recoveries, and his 142 yards off 4 interceptions in 1976 also topped the league. Over his career, Merlo scored 3 defensive touchdowns, intercepted 8 passes, and recovered 22 fumbles.
Rickey Jackson (LB, 1981-1993)
Amazingly, Jackson was still available in the second round of the 1981 NFL draft when first-year Saints head coach Bum Phillips snatched him up with the 51st overall selection. Thirteen years later, Jackson ended a New Orleans career that would have him recognized as perhaps the greatest New Orleans Saint of all-time. He terrorized opposing offenses throughout his Saints career, with 115 quarterback sacks, 6 years of double digit sack totals, an incredible 38 fumbles forced, 27 fumbles recovered, 7 interceptions, and a safety.
Jackson was selected to six pro bowls, and recognized as a first-team NFL All-Pro 4 times. Jackson started an astounding 195 games for New Orleans, missing only two games in 1989 over his entire career, after a car accident. He returned that season with a broken jaw wired partially shut, and a specially designed helmet to protect against…
click here to read the rest of this story