Former New Orleans Saints great Willie Roaf was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.
From Pine Bluff, Ark., Roaf, an offensive tackle, was drafted in the first round from Louisiana Tech by the Saints and played nine years with the team and was selected to seven Pro Bowls.
An outpouring of support for Willie came out after he was selected:
- "He meant a great deal to our team during his career with us. He was the best player on our team during his time with us, one of the top players in the history of our franchise and one of the NFL’s greatest at his position,” Saints owner Tom Benson said.
- Former Saints Coach Jim Mora said, "Without question Willie was one of my best and favorite players ever."
- Former Saints Coach Jerry Fontenot said, “ Willie had the combination of great feet, quickness and strength that you rarely see from an offensive lineman. He had a great competitive spirit on the field, and despite his incredible talents, was as humble a man off the field that I know."
Roaf played with the Saints from 1993-2001 and ended his career with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2005.
He was selected by New Orleans in first round (eighth overall) of 1993 draft. and started all 16 games at right tackle, and did not miss an offensive snap during first season, earning All-Rookie honors. The following year, he switched to left tackle and was voted to first of 11 Pro Bowls, named first-team All-Pro, All-NFC, and NFLPAs NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year for first of two consecutive seasons. He played nine seasons in New Orleans, starting 131 regular season games. He also started two playoff games including franchises first-ever postseason win, a 31-28 victory over defending Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams in 2000 NFC Wild Card Game. His knee injury shortened 2001 season to just seven games.
He was eventually traded by the Saints to Chiefs in exchange for a third-round draft pick. He rebounded from injury to regain form and earned All-Pro honors in three of four seasons with Chiefs and was a key part of Kansas City's offensive line that helped Chiefs lead NFL in points scored in 2002 and 2003. His team also led AFC in total yards in 2003 and NFL in 2004 and 2005. He was named first-team All-Pro seven times (1994-96, 2000, 2003-05), All-NFC six times, and All-AFC three times. He was also a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s.
Cortez Kennedy, who works with the Saints, was a defensive tackle with the Seahawks from 1990 to 2000 and also got in.
He played 167 games. He was selected by Seattle in the first round (third overall) of the 1990 draft. he was extremely durable (played in 167 of possible 176 games.) He was named first-team All Rookie by PFWA, voted to a team-record eight Pro Bowls (1992-97, 1999, 2000),named first-team (1992, 1993, 1994) or second-team (1991, 1996) All-Pro five times. Impressively, he was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 while playing for a 2-14 team. That season he led all interior linemen with 14 sacks and career best 92 tackles, had four forced fumbles, recovered fumble and batted down two passes. He recorded 73 tackles, 6 1/2 sacks and two interceptions in 1999 as his team captured AFC Western Division title.
Aeneas Williams, a defensive back, and a New Orleans original who played at Fortier High School, was also nominated.
He played from 1991 to 2000 for Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals and from 2001 to 2004 for St. Louis Rams. He played 211 games. He was selected by the Cardinals in the third round (59th overall) of the 1991 draft. He started at cornerback for 12 seasons before switching to safety. He was named to Pro Bowl seven times as a cornerback and once as a safety. His first career interception came in NFL debut. He compiled five or more interceptions in a season six times. He recorded 55 interceptions for 807 yards and nine touchdowns. He had a then-record 104-yard fumble return vs. Redskins in 2000. He was selected to NFL's All-Decade Team 1990s.