New Orleans Saints Cornerbacks With Roots In Canada

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Oct 07, 2015

Delvin Breaux (right)


In these years it’s rare for a NFL team to have an undrafted pair of starting cornerbacks. Usually they are among the better athletes in every team, and they are very high regarded for their pass coverage abilities and world-class speed. Darrelle Revis, who returned to the New York Jets this season after winning the Super Bowl with the New England Patriots, and the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman were the All-Pro selected cornerbacks in 2014, with Chris Harris of the Denver Broncos, and Brent Grimes of the Miami Dolphins gaining second place votes. Interestingly, both Harris and Grimes went undrafted: Harris was considered too slow after playing NCAA football with the Kansas Jayhawks, but got his chance in 2011 after perennial Pro Bowler Champ Bailey went injured, and has been a mainstay in the Mile High City since. Grimes played college football at Division II Shippensburg University and went to sign as a free agent with the Atlanta Falcons in 2006, who allocated him to the Hamburg Sea Devils of NFL Europe in 2007, and in 2008 Grimes became a starter for the Falcons. In 2013 he moved to the Dolphins, where he has been one of the few brightest spots in their defense.

But both Harris and Grimes have another thing in common: their teammates who manhandle the other cornerback position this season (Aqib Talib and Brice McCain, respectively) were selected in the NFL Draft. There is just one team who have two undrafted cornerbacks, and they are the New Orleans Saints. What’s most impressive is that both Brandon Browner and Delvin Breaux starred in the Canadian Football League before making it into the NFL. And Breaux’s story is more amazing because it’s a miracle that he is still walking, let it playing, and he also can be a Pro Bowler just like Browner.

After playing college football for the Oregon State Beavers, where he was chosen to the All-Pacific 10 Conference team, Browner was not selected in the 2005 NFL Draft. He signed with the Denver Broncos, but he missed all the season due to an injury in the preseason. After being waived by the Broncos in 2006, Browner went to the Calgary Stampeders in 2007, where he starred for four seasons. He was named CFL All-Star from 2008 through 2010 and helped the Stampeders to a Grey Cup title. The Seattle Seahawks signed him in 2011 and quickly became a starter at right cornerback, where he picked 6 passes, returning 2 for touchdowns (including a Seahawks record 94-yarder against the New York Giants) and was named a Pro Bowl Alternate (playing in the game for the injured Carlos Rogers). But in 2012 Browner was suspended the first four games for violating the NFL's performance enhancing drug policy and in 2013 he was suspended again after eight games, so he missed the Seahawks' Super Bowl XLVIII victory against the Denver Broncos. After being suspended again for the first four games of the 2014 season, Browner signed with the New England Patriots, where he started the final 9 games of the season and was a vital part in their Super Bowl win against his former team. He moved to the Saints this season as a free agent, replacing Corey White at right cornerback, who moved to the Dallas Cowboys.

Breaux wasn’t so fortunate. A New Orleans native and one of the top high school players in the country, he already had signed a letter of intent to attend Louisiana State University when he broke three vertebrae in a high school game in 2006. For the severity of his injuries it was told that he could have died on the field. The LSU Tigers honored his scholarship, however, and Breaux went to Baton Rouge, spending time also as an assistant coach but he was never cleared medically to play. In 2012, at the age of 23, Breaux finally had medical clearance to play, and started playing Arena Football, first with the minor-league Louisiana Bayou Vipers, then with his hometown New Orleans VooDoo of the Arena Football League. Breaux went to the Canadian Football League in 2013, where he played two seasons for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He was named CFL All-Star in 2014 while leading the Tiger-Cats to a spot in the Grey Cup (Canada’s Super Bowl). He attracted attention by many NFL teams while playing in Hamilton and he was signed by the Saints this offseason. Due to injuries to starter Keenan Lewis, Breaux has been starting at left cornerback since the season began. He recovered a fumble in the opening game against the Arizona Cardinals and surely is on verge of one of the top stories of the 2015 NFL season.


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