Former Saints’ star running back, Deuce McAllister, was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame on Friday.
Dulymus “Deuce” McAllister was born in Ludlow, Miss., December 27,1978. McAllister became a highly sought-after recruit during his days at Morton High School, where he played as a running back and safety.
Out of the many football scholarship offers he received, McAllister chose to play for Ole Miss due to the promise of being able to play running back instead of safety like most schools wanted. He went on to become a record-setting back first for Ole Miss and then with the Saints.
“This ranks up there with all the awards I’ve ever won during my career. It really means that much.”
The New Orleans Saints drafted him in the first round of the 2001 draft with the 23rd overall pick. McAllister became the team’s biggest star before Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham came to town in later years.
He became the Saints’ starting running back in 2002 after the trade of Ricky Williams. He became the first Saints running back to rush for over 1,000 yards in three straight seasons, rushing for a total of 1,388 yards and leading the NFC in rushing.
McAllister also became the first and so far only New Orleans running back to make back-to-back Pro Bowls in 2002 and 2003. During his Pro Bowl seasons, McAllister set Saints records for most touchdowns in 2002 with 13 and most yards from scrimmage in 2003 with 2,157.
In his first playoff start on January 16, 2007 against the Philadelphia Eagles, McAllister rushed for 143 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown, and added another 20 receiving yards and a touchdown on four catches. The Saints won 27-24 and reached the NFC Championship Game for the first time in franchise history.
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An Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear to his right knee in 2005, an ACL tear to his to his left knee in 2007, and salary cap issues cut Deuce’s career with the Saints short. Still, he finished his career in New Orleans as the career leader in rushing yards with 6,096, rushes with 1,429 and rushing touchdowns with 49. His nine games with 100 rushing yards in 2003 is still a team record.
“I truly believe I could have been a pro hall of famer,” he said. “I’m always going to think about that and wonder. With the numbers I had, I think I easily could have got it.”
Just before the Saints played their divisional-round playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans brought Deuce back to be an honorary captain. McAllister was on the roster as the team won Super Bowl XLIV, earning him a Super Bowl ring.
New Orleans named McAllister to the Saints All-Time 45th Anniversary and inducted him into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2012, along with team owner Tom Benson. He was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
The Saints have taken McAllister’s number 26 out of rotation for current players.
McAllister, who is known for saying he played his entire football career in Mississippi, calling the Saints an “adopted” team of the state, was inducted along with five other Mississippi sports legends.
“This is very special,” McAllister said. “This ranks up there with all the awards I’ve ever won during my career. It really means that much.”
Others inducted Friday included Ruthie Bolton, Doug Cunningham, Calvin Smith, Richard Williams, and Steve McNair will be inducted posthumously. Former Ole Miss and New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning also received The Rube Award during the ceremony.