The Saints secondary took another hit this week in the form of cornerback Keenan Lewis and his hip surgery – which will sideline the New Orleans native 4-6 weeks.
Lewis’ injury further complicates the difficult situation already plaguing New Orleans’ defense: cornerback Jairus Byrd, the team’s marquee addition in the 2014 offseason, missed the last 12 games of last season with a knee injury and has yet to play this preseason. Meanwhile, the Black and Gold’s new addition – Brandon Browner – injured his leg in the team’s exhibition opener in Baltimore versus the Ravens.
“Some of that you can’t control, and it’s not just unique to our team,” head coach Sean Payton said. “It’s pretty common in the league. You’d like to have your starting units intact, and yet that’s not always the case.”
It doesn’t seem to be at all the case in the Crescent City, except for 24-year-old Kenny Vaccaro. However that means the door is wide open for a former LSU Tiger who has seen more than his fair share of adversity.
New Orleans product Delvin Breaux, who prepped at McDonogh 35 on Kerlerec, is ready to make up for lost time after breaking his neck in high school.
In October of 2006 while suiting up for McDonogh 35, Breaux fractured his C4, C5 and C6 vertebrae on a kickoff return. LSU honored the scholarship it had previously offered to Breaux, and in 2008, the 6’1”cornerback became a player-coach for the Tigers.
Although Breaux never suited up for the Purple and Gold in Baton Rouge, he never gave up on his dream of playing football. He overcame his neck injury and played for the Louisiana Bayou Vipers in the Gridiron Developmental League in 2012, the New Orleans VooDoo in 2013, then the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, earning Canadian Football League All-Star honors in 2014.
Breaux then got a chance to start making his NFL dreams a reality in January of 2015 when he signed with the New Orleans Saints. Now, with the Lewis’ injury adding to the hurdles facing the Saints’ secondary, Breaux seems to be prepared to seize a golden opportunity.
“I’m so glad for him, I can’t tell you,” LSU head coach Les Miles said. “I just want him to be everything he wants to be. He’s a quality person.”
Miles regrets he never got to see Breaux in action for the Tigers, but is excited to see what his former player-coach can down the road while dressed in Black and Gold.
“We were so disappointed we didn’t have him the years he couldn’t play for us,” Miles said. “He was going to school on our campus. He couldn’t play. He went by way of the Canadian League and back. I’m so glad he’s strong and healthy and capable.”
Nine years after a nearly devastating neck injury, Breaux may be poised to reclaim the promise that he once was poised to capitalize on. He’s been filling in for Browner since the veteran went down in Baltimore, and with Lewis’ injury, it seems Breaux will likely see regular season action inside the Superdome, not just pre-season snaps.
“My dream actually came true when I was walking out of the tunnel and hearing the guy on the PA system call my name,” Breaux said after his exhibition Superdome debut. “It was one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt.”
The Saints, along with all other teams, must whittle their roster down to 53 by Saturday, September 5. So look for Breaux to try to deliver one last statement performance Thursday at Lambeau Field versus the Green Bay Packers.