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tiggerpolice 06-16-2005 08:45 AM

Saints WRs provide lots of intrigue
Saints WRs provide lots of intrigue

The Courier

Heading into Saints training camp, which begins Friday, July 29 in Metairie, the battle for the No. 3 receiver spot looks like it will be a good one.

With Joe Horn and Donté Stallworth locked in at No. 1 and No. 2 respectively, second-year player Devery Henderson, Saints veteran and special teams spark Michael Lewis, third-year player Talman Gardner and free-agent pick up Nate Poole (who you may remember as the guy who kept the Vikings out of the 2003 postseason with a last-second catch in the season finale for the Cardinals) will battle for the third slot.

Henderson and Lewis are smaller guys with loads of speed, while Gardner and Poole are bigger receivers who can also run.

I spoke with the leader of the group in Horn, who caught 94 passes for a career-high 1,399 yards and 11 touchdowns to earn his fourth Pro Bowl selection, on Tuesday when the Saints Caravan made a stop at the Southland Mall.

Horn, who along with Henderson and Lewis made the trip to Houma, said there is, and will continue to be, closeness within the group.

"We’re going to be tight," Horn said. "We’ve got to be tight like a family in order to stay together and win football games. They understand that. I’m trying to stress that point on and off the football field. The more we do that, the more successful we’ll be."

But the closeness of the Saints wide receiving core took a blow this offseason when Jerome Pathon, a gutsy player who often took big hits after making big catches, was not re-signed. Pathon, who caught 121 passes for 1,682 yards and nine touchdowns in his three seasons with the Saints, is now with Seattle, which hurts Horn.

"Personally, Jerome Pathon was one of my better friends on the team, along with fast Freddie McAfee," Horn said. "I love Jerome Pathon. When he left, I was sad and disappointed because I know he’s going to go to Seattle and probably start as the third receiver. But that’s the nature of the business. Someone else will have to step up in the three position and make plays. They are going to have to want to play football."

But no matter how much the Saints receivers come together before the season or during the season or no matter how open they get during games, someone still has to deliver the ball.

And that falls on the shoulders of a seven-year man from Virginia in Aaron Brooks.

"AB is doing exceptionally well," Horn said of his quarterback. "He’s become more of a leader than he’s ever been before. He’s more vocal and he wants to be good. He wants to be the best in the league, but you have to put up stats, and he knows that."

Those things have been said of Brooks before and he may still have something to prove to Saints fans, but a well-rounded and complete group of receivers, and a healthy Deuce McAllister, will make his job that much easier.

Courier sports writer Kelly McElroy can be reached at 857-2211 or

papz 06-16-2005 09:16 AM

RE: Saints WRs provide lots of intrigue
Good to hear Joe and Aaron becoming more vocal and holding the team together. Hopefully we'll see the difference on the field.

I think as long as Joe doesn't bang anyone's stripper wife :wink: , we'll be fine.

mayoj 06-16-2005 09:20 AM

RE: Saints WRs provide lots of intrigue
You can see it everywhere that Joe Horn is becoming more of a leader, and I think it will pay off for the young WR's. You can hear everywhere that AB is stepping up as a leader; I hope we see it when the season starts.

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