this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Defensive back has reason to like town in which NFL started Saturday, August 04, 2007By Jimmy Smith JACKSON, MISS. -- For at least one Saints player, the tour of the Pro Football Hall of Fame tonight in Canton, Ohio, will ...
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Canton is in blood of Saints' Reis
Defensive back has reason to like town in which NFL started Saturday,
August 04, 2007By Jimmy Smith
JACKSON, MISS. -- For at least one Saints player, the tour of the Pro Football Hall of Fame tonight in Canton, Ohio, will be a return trip.
Forgive him, though, if he doesn't have much recall about the first visit.
"My mom always says I've been to the Hall of Fame when I was in her stomach," said free-agent safety Chris Reis. "That's pretty funny. But I'm looking forward to going back."
The day after the third regular-season game of 1983, a game in which the Saints took a 34-31 overtime victory over the Chicago Bears thanks to a Ken Stabler-directed drive to a Morten Andersen field goal, Reis was born at Mercy Medical Center, just across the street from the Hall of Fame.
Sometime in the nine months that preceded the Sept. 19 delivery, Reis' mom walked through the hallowed halls of the museum in the city where George Halas and a few others gathered in the showroom of a downtown Hupmobile dealership on Aug. 20, 1920, to form the league that would eventually become the NFL.
Reis only spent his first three years in Canton before his family moved to Georgia, where he grew up.
"But I'm looking forward to seeing the hospital where I was born," he said.
Consider the connection Reis has to the Saints and Canton, being born the day after New Orleans beat the team Halas founded, six weeks before Halas died on Oct. 31, 1983.
And tonight, Reis and the Saints get a guided tour of the Hall of Fame, situated at 2121 George Halas Drive NW.
"We were just there in Canton briefly," said Reis. "I think we used to have some family there, but now my family is down here in Georgia. I wasn't quite sure why they were up there. I think my dad has a job there. Then my parents divorced. My mom's side of the family is down here, so she moved down here.
"I remember some stuff about it, but not a lot. But I'm anxious to getting back to my first hometown."
Reis, an alum of NFL Europa (Cologne Centurions), is attempting to catch on with the Saints in a crowded defensive backfield behind veterans Kevin Kaesviharn, Roman Harper, Jay Bellamy and Josh Bullocks. Harper, Bellamy and Bullocks were all starters at some point last season.
But in addition to his distinction as the only player on the roster born in the birthplace of pro football, Reis is also the only player on the Saints who can say he made the last all-NFL Europa team.
The league folded June 29.
INTERESTING DRILL: The Saints have added another unique special teams drill to train punt team cover players to down footballs near the goal line.
Coaches toss volleyballs to players, who bat them around before touching them to the ground.
"We're trying to keep the ball in play," said rookie Robert Meachem. "We've done it quite a few time. It's a great drill. You can never do too much with that. You never know how the ball is going to bounce."
SOME HOLDOUTS: Coach Sean Payton said after Friday's afternoon practice that he may hold safety Roman Harper out of Sunday night's game against the Steelers, and could do the same with running back Deuce McAllister.
Harper is still recovering from soreness and swelling in his left knee. McAllister is healthy, but could be rested.
"I'm looking for Drew to get a series or two, Reggie Bush the same way," Payton said. "For the most part, the starters will get 12 or 14 plays. I think the evaluation of special teams will be critical starting with this game for our young guys as well as the veteran players, how they show up."