New Orleans Saints Receiver John Gilliam

Saints Receiver John Gilliam battles for the ball against a Boston Patriots defender.
Saints Receiver John Gilliam battles for the ball against a Boston Patriots defender.

New Orleans Saints 1968 Preseason

 Some recently uncovered vintage Saints play from the 1968 preseason.  This from an inter-squad scrimmage against the then Boston Patriots of the AFL. Young Saints star John Gilliam of South Carolina State – made famous for his opening day kickoff return touchdown the year before to open the 1967 Saints Season –    goes up to contend a pass against Patriots defender Jay Cunningham.

 At the time this picture was taken John Gilliam was going into his second season with New Orleans. Despite providing such a memorable start to New Orleans Saints legacy his time with us was rather unremarkable. It wasn’t until he joined the St. Louis Cardinals in 1969 that his NFL career began to take off. In his first year as a Cardinal he had more catches, yards and touchdowns than his entire time as a Saint. In 1972 he joined the Minnesota Vikings and was a major contributor during their dynasty years of the mid-70s. He was a 1st-team NFC Pro Bowler each of the 4 years he was there. After a single season with the Falcons and a brief stay with Chicago he would rejoin the Saints for 10 games in 1977 to finish his 11-year career.

John Gilliam Career Receiving Statistics
Year Age Team No. Games Receptions Yards Y/R TD Longest
1967 22 NOR 42 13 22 264 12.0 1 35
1968 23 NOR 42 14 24 284 11.8 0 39
1969 24 STL 44 14 52 997 19.2 9 84
1970 25 STL 44 14 45 952 21.2 5 79
1971 26 STL 44 14 42 837 19.9 3 54
1972* 27 MIN 42 14 47 1035 22.0♦ 7 66
1973* 28 MIN 42 14 42 907 21.6 8 54
1974* 29 MIN 42 14 26 578 22.2 5 80
1975* 30 MIN 42 14 50 777 15.5 7 46
1976 31 ATL 42 14 21 292 13.9 2 49
1977 32 2TM 12 11 133 12.1 1 23
CHI 82 2 0 0 0 0
NOR 41 10 11 133 12.1 1 23
Career 151 382 7056 18.5 48 84
4 yr MIN 56 165 3297 20.0 27 80
3 yr NOR 37 57 681 11.9 2 39
3 yr STL 42 139 2786 20.0 17 84
1 yr ATL 14 21 292 13.9 2 49
  • * – Pro Bowl Selection
  • ♦ – Led the League
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
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