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SmashMouth 09-27-2011 07:00 AM

New Orleans Saints suddenly thrust oft-waived lineman Brian de la Puenta into the spotlight
 
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Brian de la Puenta had no time to consider the magnitude of the moment. And that might not have been a bad thing considering the circumstances.

New Orleans Saints lineman Brian de la Puenta got his chance to play Sunday against the Houston Texans and made the most of it.
The message New Orleans Saints offensive line coach Aaron Kromer delivered to him midway through the second quarter of the Saints' game against the Houston Texans was short and unceremonious: You're in. You're up. Let's go.

No announcement by the public-address guy. No ticker across the bottom of the TV screen. No blaring of trumpets or clashing of cymbals.

You're in. You're up. Let's go.

And just like that, de la Puenta's NFL odyssey ended. After three-plus years and five teams, de la Puenta saw his first live action as an NFL offensive lineman, replacing injured starting center Olin Kreutz.

De la Puenta played the final three quarters of the game at a position he played only sparingly in his career. In fact, he'd never played a down at center in an official game and hadn't taken live snaps at the position in practice since training camp.

Yet, there he was on Sunday, in the heat of a furious comeback, firing shotgun snap after shotgun snap to Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees in front of 73,000 breathless fans.

"I just wanted to get the first snap out of the way," de la Puenta said. "I wasn't nervous really. I didn't have time to think about it."

"It's a credit to Drew, he hung in there with me, and everything went well. It also helps to have two Pro Bowl guards beside you and a 14-year veteran like Olin coming up to you after every series giving you pointers."

The Saints didn't skip a beat with de la Puenta at center. During the 59 snaps he played, they outscored the Texans 40-23 en route to one of the most exhilarating comebacks in club history.

Afterward, de la Puenta received a slew of well-wishing text messages and emails from family and friends. His first NFL action as an offensive lineman was a long time coming.

"It was exciting and fun," he said. "It's almost surreal."

Down but not out

The Saints media guide tells the story on de la Puenta as well as anything.

In his bio, the listing of his career transactions is twice as long as his career highlights. All told, de la Puenta has experienced 20 transactions in a little more than three seasons. He's been cut six times in that span.

At this time a year ago, he wasn't even on a roster. The 49ers cut him in training camp, and for four weeks he sat by the phone, wondering whether the journey was over. He and future wife Makenzie spent their Sundays channel surfing and monitoring the waiver wire and injury report.

read more here

SmashMouth 09-27-2011 07:01 AM

De La Puente playing De La Center .... nice ... hardly noticed... and that's a good thing too!

darstep 09-27-2011 07:23 AM

GAME BALL ... Brian de la Puenta!

saintsfan1976 09-27-2011 07:27 AM

I prefer Kreutz on the sideline acting as a mentor and coach.

Danno 09-27-2011 07:42 AM

I didn't even notice he was in during the game. The number on those throw-up jerseys were hard as hell to read, even on the big screen.


Great story, but what does that say about Tennant. He was the starting center at the beginning of TC and now he's inactive on gameday.

Payton said de la Puenta is simply outplaying Matt Tennant. Further proof that it doesn't matter where you're from, how high you were drafted, how much you make, if you perform well this staff will play you.

darstep 09-27-2011 08:08 AM

Results matter!

strato 09-27-2011 08:14 AM

He played well...when Kreutz went down we were all like NOOOOOOOOOO...but Brian played well against a pretty good D-Line..Im pulling for him..hell we got no choice right now..any word on Kreutz?...i saw him kicked back with ice on his knee..

hagan714 09-28-2011 05:28 PM

welcome to the nfl

homerj07 09-28-2011 06:12 PM

The fact that no one noticed is a fantastic thing!

AlaskaSaints 09-28-2011 08:36 PM

Yeah, well, we honestly dodged a bullet there.

Very happy for him and his transition. May be his forte. Only time will tell.

Alaska


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