Pierre Thomas Cruises Into New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame – (CSC) Saints News

Congratulations to Hall of Famer Pierre

Running back Pierre
culminated a wonderful career as a member of the
Orleans Saints
with the announcement on Thursday that he
will be inducted into the franchise’s Hall of Fame. Thomas joins
wide receiver Lance
and Michael C. Hebert in the Class of 2018
inductees into the Saints Hall of Fame, which was founded in 1987.
He is just the 5th New Orleans running back to be inducted.

Illinois v
Michigan State
Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

came into the NFL as an undrafted free agent
rookie out of the University of Illinois in 2007. Despite leaving
the Fighting Illini with the 2nd highest all-time mark in all
purpose yardage, Thomas wasn’t even invited to the NFL scouting
combine. He made such an impression on 2nd year Saints coach Sean
Payton however, that Thomas was kept on the roster over the team’s
4th round draft pick that year, Antonio Pittman. He had limited
offensive action during his first season with the team, finishing
with 403 total yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. He was the
team leader in kickoff return yardage, and averaged nearly 25 yards
per return.

New Orleans Saints v Chicago Bears

Thomas would establish himself
as an important weapon in Payton’s explosive offense during the
2008 season. He led the Saints in rushing during the ’08 and ’09
seasons, while scoring a combined 20 touchdowns. Thomas was one of
the most effective all-purpose running backs in the league during
his 8-yr. career in New Orleans. He was nearly unstoppable on
screen passes, and it became a staple in the Saints offensive
arsenal. Thomas led all NFL running backs in receiving during the
2013 season, when he caught a career high 77 passes for 513 yards,
and still led the Saints in rushing with 549 yards. Thomas’ 2,608
career receiving yards and 327 total receptions are both the best
in franchise history for a running back, and he ranks 6th among all
receivers in catches. His 3,745 rushing yards is 5th best in
franchise history, and his 28 rushing touchdowns is the fourth
highest mark.

NFC Championship: Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints
Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Pierre Thomas was beloved by
the Saints faithful for so much more than statistics. He wasn’t the
biggest back (listed at 5’11, 210-lbs.), and didn’t possess
breathtaking speed. Thomas was the type of player who was willing
to do whatever he needed to on the field to help his team win. He
was a trusted target of quarterback Drew
in clutch situations, and was a skilled special
team player as well, often able to give the team a boost as a kick
returner when needed. What set Thomas apart was his leadership, and
his ability to make the clutch play in big games. He scored the
first New Orleans touchdown in the Saints Super Bowl
XLIV over Indianapolis, taking a screen pass and bolting 16-yds.
for the go-ahead score early in the 3rd quarter of the Saints
historic 31-24 victory. What sometimes gets forgotten is that
Thomas was vital in just getting his team to the game’s biggest
stage. During the Saints NFC
victory over the Minnesota
, Thomas was the Saints leading rusher and second
leading receiver on the afternoon, and scored 2 of the 3 New
Orleans touchdowns. When regular returner Courtney
was injured late in the contest, Thomas stepped in
and returned the opening kickoff of overtime 40 yards to give New
Orleans key field position. Later in that same drive, Thomas was
given the call on a 4th and 1 gamble by Payton. He fought furiously
on a 2-yd. first down conversion that would put the Saints in
position for the game winning field goal from Garrett
and send New Orleans to the Super Bowl. That game
was a microcosm of a Hall of Fame career, and an honor so very well

Congratulations Pierre

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images



Read the Canal Street Chronicles article: www.canalstreetchronicles.com/2018/6/16/17469540/pierre-thomas-cruises-into-new-orleans-saints-hall-of-fame


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