The media selection committee of the Saints Hall of Fame has selected OG Jahri Evans and S Roman Harper for induction in 2020, while longtime New Orleans Saints Spanish radio broadcaster Marco Garcia has been chosen to receive the Joe Gemelli “Fleur de Lis” award for his vast contributions to the New Orleans Saints organization.
Evans, 6-4, 318, is one of the most decorated offensive linemen in franchise history. He played 11 seasons with the Saints from 2006-16 after being drafted in the fourth round in the 2006 NFL Draft out of Bloomsburg. Among his accolades were five consecutive selections to the Associated Press All-Pro teams, including four consecutive first-team honors from 2009-2012. Evans was also selected to six consecutive Pro Bowls from 2009-2014, was awarded the Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award in 2009 and 2011 along with the other members of the Saints’ offensive line, and was a member of the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team. The Philadelphia, Pa. native started all 169 regular season games he appeared in and ten postseason contests in a Black and Gold uniform, the 11th most in club record books. Evans was selected to the club’s All-50th team in 2016.
Evans was active in both the New Orleans and Philadelphia communities during his playing career. He and his offensive line teammates sponsored holiday bike giveaways in 2009 and 2010. He also participated with teammates in the 2013 United Way Hope for the Holidays campaign to raise money to construct and rehabilitate housing for those impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac. Evans has also annually held a youth football and cheerleading camp in his hometown since 2007.
Harper, 6-1, 205, was selected by New Orleans in the second round (43rd overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft out of Alabama. He played in 124 career games for the Saints from 2006-13 and in 2016 with 108 starts and recorded 775 tackles (548 solo), 17 sacks, 7 interceptions, 53 passes defensed, 13 forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and 43 special teams stops. Harper also appeared in eight postseason contests with seven starts for the Black and Gold, posting 47 tackles (29 solo), 1.5 sacks, five passes defensed and two forced fumbles. Including two seasons in Carolina from 2014-15, Harper overall played in 156 games with 140 starts in his 11-season NFL career and posted career totals of 905 tackles, 18 sacks, 11 interceptions, 68 passes defensed, 13 forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. From 2006-16, no defensive back in the NFL had more sacks than Harper’s 18 and no Saints defensive back has matched his 775 stops in a black and gold uniform. Harper was a two time Pro Bowl selection in 2009 and 2010 and was selected to the Saints All-50th team in 2016.
During his time with the Saints, with the help of the United Way, Phoenix of New Orleans (PNOLA) and St. Bernard Project, Harper has helped spearhead an effort and partnered with teammates to have several homes in New Orleans built for families through the “Hope for the Holidays” program. Through his Harper’s Hope 41 Foundation, he has hosted a wide variety of community event programs, such as reading contests, entrepreneur workshops, after school youth activities, summer camps for kids and mentoring programs, Harper was selected as the team’s nominee for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
Garcia is a native of Honduras, who began his broadcasting career announcing soccer matches in his native country. A New Orleans resident since 1975, he initially read Latin American soccer scores, called local amateur matches and hosted a Spanish language radio talk show. He then served as the voice of the Saints Spanish radio broadcast from 1996-2014 and from 2016-18, calling 191 regular season and postseason victories, known for his trademark touchdown call “Gooool-tooochdownn Santos. With over 20 years of experience in the booth, Garcia played an instrumental role in connecting the NFL and the Saints with the fast-growing Hispanic community in the New Orleans area, whose Hispanic population increased by nearly 80 percent since 2005.
Events surrounding the induction of Evans and Harper and the recognition of Garcia will take place on a weekend to be announced this season. For more information about the Saints Hall of Fame, visit saintshalloffame.com. Additional information about the Hall of Fame weekend will be announced in the coming months.
PREVIOUS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
1988—Archie Manning and Danny Abramowicz
1989—Tommy Myers and Tom Dempsey
1991—Tony Galbreath and Derland Moore
1992—George Rogers, Jake Kupp and John Hill
1994—Henry Childs and Jim Finks
1995—Doug Atkins and Bob Pollard
1996—Dave Whitsell and Dave Waymer
1997—Stan Brock and Rickey Jackson
1998—Dalton Hilliard and Sam Mills
1999—Bobby Hebert and Eric Martin
2000—Pat Swilling and Vaughan Johnson
2001—Jim Wilks and Hoby Brenner
2002—Jim Mora and Frank Warren
2003—Jim Dombrowski and Wayne Martin
2004—Rueben Mayes and Steve Sidwell
**2005—No induction due to Hurricane Katrina
2012—Tom Benson and Deuce McAllister
2014—Aaron Brooks and John Carney
2015—Tyrone Hughes and Michael Lewis
2017—Jonathan Vilma and Carl Nicks
2018—Lance Moore and Pierre Thomas
2019—Reggie Bush and Marques Colston
PREVIOUS JOE GEMELLI FLEUR DE LIS AWARD RECIPIENTS
1990—Joe Gemelli (award later named for him)
2001—Peter “Champ” Clark
2005—NO INDUCTEES due to Hurricane Katrina
2007—New Orleans Saints Fans (Marcy Beter)
2010—Dan Simmons and Glennon “Silky” Powell
2014—Al Nastasi and Tony Piazza
2018—Michael C. Hebert
2019—Gov. Kathleen Blanco
(Press release provided by New Orleans Saints.)