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Whitehead; A Good Man Of The Field And A Warrior On It...

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Whitehead Encourages Charter School Students by Janella Newsome, Saints Community Relations Saints defensive tackle Willie Whitehead recently talked to students at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Charter School for Science and Technology in New Orleans about overcoming life's challenges. "His ...

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Old 06-15-2007, 10:26 PM   #1
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Whitehead; A Good Man Of The Field And A Warrior On It...

Whitehead Encourages Charter School Students
by Janella Newsome, Saints Community Relations

Saints defensive tackle Willie Whitehead recently talked to students at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Charter School for Science and Technology in New Orleans about overcoming life's challenges.

"His speech was good I thought," said fifth-grader Malik Cordier who was one of 160 students attentively sitting in the cafeteria listening to the nine-year NFL veteran. "I believe I can make it to the NFL because of what Mr. Whitehead said which was don't believe the negative stuff people say about you. You can make it."

Whitehead spoke candidly about his struggle to make any NFL roster. His college football career started when he walked on the team at Auburn University in Alabama. Through hard work and perseverance, he earned a full athletic scholarship. After college, he looked forward to being drafted in the NFL, but it did not happen. Instead of giving up, he did the next best thing which was to play in NFL Europe and the CFL before landing a starting role with the New Orleans Saints.

"I want the kids to know that dreams do come true," said Whitehead. "I worked hard to get to this level. It's my responsibility to instill in the kids that in spite of circumstances they too can achieve their goals."


That is the mission statement of Whitehead's foundation named after his likeness. He said he simply wants to educate and empower children - especially young black males - through hard work and determination.

Domonique Encalad, age 13 and an eighth-grader, said she took Whitehead's message to heart. "No matter how hard it gets, continue trying," she said. "I'll remember this while going to school and hopefully college."

Whitehead encouraged students to post pictures and short and long term goals on their walls at home just like he does. He said it motivates him and serves as a constant reminder of what he wants to accomplish.

He ended his talk inviting students to a football camp hosted by The Willie Whitehead Foundation on June 16 at the NFL-YET Center and Boys and Girls Club of New Orleans.

"Whitehead ends his career with New Orleans having appeared in 105 games, with 43 starts. He joined the Saints in 1999 and like Lewis was an NFL success story who was undrafted and played in NFL Europe before getting an opportunity with the Saints. Whitehead posted 266 tackles (168 solo), 24.5 sacks, a pair of forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in his career. In 2004, he was voted by his teammates the winner of the Ed Block Courage Award, an honor bestowed on a player who best exemplifies the principles of sportsmanship and courage. In 2003, Whitehead earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance at Tampa Bay (Nov. 2) after recording five solo tackles, a career-high three sacks and a forced fumble. He suffered from dehydration and was admitted to a local hospital following the contest."

"I really will miss Lewis, but I think the team is going to really miss Big Willie. I think with Reggie and all those youngsters we have, it won't be to difficult to replace Lewis in the return game. Replacing Big Willie Whitehead is easier said than done. Whitehead was a major LEADER of the defense and especially the D-lineman, his versatility, determination, aggression, leadership, work ethic, and warrior mentality will be very difficult to replace. The Saints must be really impressed with Clancy."

Below is a look at our DE's and DT's on the roster, I just think we could have cut someone else besides Whitehead and his versatility, and leadership.

DEFENSIVE ENDS:
95 Hamm, Jon DE 6-7 272 24 R Clark Atlanta
97 Cooper, Josh DE 6-3 265 26 2 Mississippi
94 Grant, Charles DE 6-3 290 28 6 Georgia
91 Smith, Will DE 6-3 282 25 4 Ohio State
93 Ninkovich, Rob DE 6-2 252 23 2 Purdue
0 Evans, Willie DE 6-1 269 23 1 Mississippi State
72 Palepoi, Anton DE 6-4 297 29 5 UNLV
DEFENSIVE TACKLES:
66 Young, Brian DT 6-2 298 29 8 Texas-El Paso
77 Leisle, Rodney DT 6-3 315 26 4 UCLA
99 Thomas, Hollis DT 6-0 306 33 12 Northern Illinois
90 Villarreal, Brandon DT 6-1 289 24 1 Purdue
0 Boykin, McKinley DT 6-1 289 24 1 Mississippi
96 Lake, Antwan DT 6-4 308 27 5 West Virginia
63 Legree, Lance DT 6-1 300 29 6 Notre Dame
92 Clancy, Kendrick DT 6-1 305 28 8 Mississippi

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Old 06-15-2007, 10:49 PM   #2
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Josh Cooper may be his replacement...younger and a surprise last season.

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Old 06-15-2007, 11:18 PM   #3
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I think that they probably felt like he was going to be cut at some point so they might as well give him an early chance at landing with another team. I don't KNOW that. I'm just guessing. Whether that was their reasoning or not, it still gives him that opportunity.
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Old 06-16-2007, 12:01 AM   #4
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I just hope the Falcons, Panthers, Eagles, Bears, Rams, 49ers, or the Bucs don't decide to pick him up. That's one of those moves to can hurt you down the road.
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Old 06-16-2007, 12:33 AM   #5
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Lewis isn't a surprise, but Whitehead I didn't expect to see go. I wonder what the real reason is that they let him go. He didn't have a huge salary. Wasn't a trouble maker. Did what was asked of him. Seems like the exact kind of player a coach would love to have on his team. Certainly, they could've sent someone else away who would be less valuable. Some team's gonna be super happy to snap him up. I hate to see both of them go.
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Old 06-16-2007, 01:16 PM   #6
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I was sad to see him go too, but it was inevitable. Seems like this could be a Bellamy situation though....we need someone down the road, put in the call and he's back for another few games

Still, we have to give the new, young folks a shot to see what they can do.
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