Tony Elliott – Nose Tackle – 1982 to 1988
In the picture above starting Nose Guard Tony Elliott recovers a Cody Carlson fumble during a 1987 preseason game against the Houston Oilers.
A 5th round draft pick from North Texas State in 1982 the 6′ 2″ 280 pound lineman was the typical talented-life-wrecked-by-drugs story. Considered to be an extremely talented athlete Elliott was listed as the team’s starter at Nose Tackle from 1985 till 1988. He was a major contributor on those early days of the Dome Patrol where the Saints defense was considered one of the best in the NFL. he started a total 60 games and is credited with 13 sacks. His best season was probably 1985 when he had 5-and-a-half sacks.
Despite his success as a professional football player his ties to gangs and drug addiction followed him most of his NFL career. Immediately after joining the Saints he reportedly blew his entire $14,000 signing bonus on cocaine binge. Within a year he was committed to a rehab hospital but after being released returned to his old ways cashing bad checks, stealing a friend’s tax return check and even attempting a robbery of drug dealer.
He was suspended from playing in 1984 but after a 3-month stay at another drug rehabilitation center he appealed his suspension and was reinstated to play in 1985. It was at this time Elliott began a new life. He even began to give talks to high school students and troubled youth in the New England states and around New Orleans. He was even featured an many morning shows as a “Positive Role Model” of the NFL.
Unfortunately, despite his separation from drugs, his old life-style would prove to be his undoing. Shot in 2000 by an alleged drug dealer. He survived the attack but would spend the last 8 years of his life confined to a wheelchair after being paralyzed. He died in 2007 on New Year’s Eve from complications from the paralysis.