Brian Allee-Walsh

Ceremonial signing of Lance Moore exemplifies once a Saints, always a Saint mentality

Moore
Moore Associated Press

Lance Moore deserves to retire as a Saint.

During a storybook eight-year career in New Orleans, he forged a special bond with an organization, team, citizenry and Who Dat Nation, finishing as one of the most productive wide receivers in Black and Gold history.

So, I applaud team officials for enabling the 33-year-old Moore to put meaningful closure to that chapter of his life by signing a ceremonial one-day contract.

It’s a win-win situation.

That simple transaction reminds us the NFL is not always about the bottom line. It also reminds me of other recent heartfelt acts by Saints officials, such as:

▪ Just a week ago, players donned black No. 96 helmet decals during an OTA practice session in honor of late Seattle Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, a longtime friend of Saints GM Mickey Loomis and former team consultant who died unexpectedly May 23 at the age of 48.

▪ Last season, players wore black-and-gold helmet decals bearing the name and jersey number of popular captain and defensive end Will Smith, who was shot and killed in April 2016 following a minor traffic accident in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans.

▪ In January 2010, the team signed former running back Deuce McAllister to a contract and made him an honorary team captain so he could represent the Saints at midfield prior to a divisional round home playoff game against Arizona.

Though McAllister did not play during the postseason, he remained on the roster throughout the team’s run to Super Bowl XLIV glory, then formally retired after the season.

In each case, team officials have paid tribute to special men and players.

That said, they missed a golden opportunity to do right by Saints legend and Pro Football Hall of Fame-bound kicker Morten Andersen in December 2008. After not playing all season, the Great Dane was attempting to surpass George Blanda and become the oldest player in NFL history at 48 years, 110 days by signing a contract with the Saints.

It did not happen. Andersen formally retired Dec. 8, 2008, signing league paperwork at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Denmark in Copenhagen.

Blanda remains the oldest player at 48 years, 109 days.

“The idea was floated with the Saints but never gained any traction,’’ said Andersen, a member of the team’s Ring of Honor inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, along with Archie Manning, Rickey Jackson and Willie Roaf.

Though Andersen played with five other teams during a distinguished 25-year NFL career, there is no question where his allegiance lies now two months shy of induction ceremonies Aug. 5 in Canton, Ohio.

“Everyone knows I’m a Saint,’’ he said.

Through and through.

Brian Allee-Walsh, a longtime Saints reporter based in New Orleans, can be reached at sports@sunherald.com.

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