Deuce McAllister – Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame
New Orleans Saints
Photo Courtesy of the New Orleans Saints
For Dulymus “Deuce” McAllister, playing football was a labor of love.
“I loved the game from a young age,” McAllister said. “I knew I wanted to pursue it beyond my youth. I sure was fortunate to do so.”
It was a long way from his birthplace of Ludlow, Miss., to New Orleans for McAllister, who grew up as a fan of the New Orleans Saints.
“The Saints were on television where I lived and I became a fan,” McAllister said. “I used to think, to dream about playing for them one day.”
McAllister enjoyed an outstanding college career at Ole Miss before being drafted by the Saints in the first round of the 2001 draft. He did not disappoint.
“I knew they had Ricky Williams but I knew they drafted me for a reason,” McAllister said. “You cannot control where you are picked and I was sure happy that I was going to New Orleans. It was a dream come true.”
After starting just four games as a rookie, McAllister became the workhorse of the team in 2002.
The 6-1, 230-pounder earned a pair of Pro Bowl honors in 2002 and 2003. He is the lone Saints’ running back to be voted to the Pro Bowl in consecutive seasons.
In 2002, he led the NFC with 1,388 yards rushing and scored 16 touchdowns. In 2003, he finished second in the NFC in rushing and fourth in the league with a career-high 1,641 yards on 351 carries which is second in club history. He added a career-high 69 receptions for 516 yards, setting a club record with 2,157 combined yards, ranking second in the NFC.
In his first-ever playoff start against Philadelphia on Jan. 16, 2007, McAllister rushed for 143 yards on 21 carries with one touchdown and had four catches for 20 yards and another touchdown as New Orleans defeated the Eagles 27-24 to earn its first-ever NFC Championship Game appearance in franchise history.
“Getting to the NFC Championship was a thrilling experience,” McAllister said. “The whole year was such a joy, returning to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and providing the fans of New Orleans and the Gulf South with something to bond with. The fact that we played so well was just awesome.”
McAllister overcame knee injuries in 2005 and 2007, returning each time to play very well for the Saints in 97 games over eight seasons.
After he retired following the 2008 season, McAllister was not finished in New Orleans. The Saints signed him, made him inactive and utilized him as an honorary captain for a playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals on Jan. 16, 2010, leading the team onto the field.
“That was such a great experience,” McAllister said. “I did not expect it but I truly appreciated the opportunity. Being around the Saints on their run to a Super Bowl championship was as good as it could possibly get.”
McAllister is among the all-time greats in New Orleans Saints history. He is the leading rusher in franchise history, rushing for 6,096 yards on 1,429 carries and 49 scores, all franchise records. His 55 total touchdowns are the second most in franchise history. He led the Saints in rushing in four different seasons.
McAllister had four seasons in which he rushed for over 1,000 yards. He caught 234 passes for 1,720 yards and five touchdowns. He added a touchdown pass as a rookie.
He was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. McAllister was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. Now, McAllister becomes a member of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame.
“It is truly an honor,” McAllister said. “This is where I made my name as a professional, my home, where I have so many friends and memories. All of the honors are special and this one certainly is. I am extremely thankful for the honor.”
Story submitted by Ken Trahan of the Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee.