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Deke Bellavia

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Deke: Of all the Saints that are gone, #43 hurts the most!

Let me say first that I put my personal feelings into this feature, along with my regular job duties.  Sure, there is a business side of sports that many of us understand, but it still feels like a body blow when certain moves are made.

I am in no way, shape, or form griping about the Saints' trading the most versatile player in Black and Gold history.  Instead I’m telling you why I think the loss of Darren Sproles hurts more than any other moves that have been made thus far.

In business, you like to get something in return for what you have traded.  Well, I’m not sure what the Saints will get with their fifth round pick from the Eagles for trading #43, but it’s going to be hard to get that Sproles-type production back.

READ MORE: Kristian: Bobby and Hokie weigh in on Sproles trade 

In three short years, the fastest, most feared, and best game changer that perhaps this Saints franchise has ever seen piled up numbers at an alarming rate.  And even in 2013, a year that was not considered a productive year for Sproles, #43 still hauled in 71 receptions and racked up over 1100 all-purpose yards.

You can see that the numbers that Darren put up will be very difficult to duplicate.  But the kind of guy that Darren is... that's even harder to say goodbye to.  The soft spoken, mostly quiet Sproles was not much of a talker. Sure, he met with the media from time to time.  But there really was no reason to talk to Sproles.  All of his actions spoke much greater than words.  He seemed like a great teammate, and to me, he was a guy that could make a play when it needed to be made!

None of us will ever forget the season Sproles had in 2011 when he set an NFL record with 2,696 all-purpose yards.  I mean, think about that season!  In early September, Darren piled up 275 yards against the Packers, giving the Who Dat Nation a small taste of things to come.

Less than a month later, Sproles piled up 193 yards in the win over Houston, and followed that with a 190 yard all-purpose effort in October when he surpassed the 1000-yard mark - just two months into the season. Perhaps best of all was the day after Christmas in 2011, when #43 gashed those Dirty Birds for a whopping 236 all-purpose yards.  

For three years, opposing teams had to know where he was at all times, and the only time those teams could breathe easier? Well, that only happened when Darren was not on the field!

Yes, "Mighty Sproles" was mighty indeed.  Fans fell in love with Darren from day one, and the more he played, the more they loved him.

READ MORE: Kristian: Value for Sproles is what the Saints got

Who Dat Nation, football is a business and I understand that.  But being a business does not take the sting away, it does not take the hurt away from saying goodbye to #43.  

Darren Sproles gave the Saints 10.5 yards on average every time he touched the football; that means that every time for every touch, he gained a first down.  His three year totals in Black and Gold saw him rush for 1,067 yards on 188 carries for 5.7 yards per rush, Darren hauled in 232 grabs for 1981 yards averaging 8.5 yards per catch, he returned 70 kicks for 1,807 yards with an average of 26 yards per kick return, and Darren finished up his Saints stint with 36 punt returns for 671 yards, with an 18.6 yards per punt return average.  He scored 22 TD’s and touched the ball 526 times for 5,526 yards.

So on the day the Saints traded Darren Sproles to the Eagles, I just thought it was fitting to take a little look back on what Darren did while he was here.  And all Darren did was his job.  Darren did a damn good job! Hell, he was great!  

So Darren, thank you for giving us your all while you were here in the Big Easy.  You were great on the field, and you were great off the field, being very active in the New Orleans community.

The Saints have let go some of the most loyal and successful veterans in club history over the course of the last few weeks.  But in my own opinion, the loss of the guy I call "Mighty Sproles" hurts the worst... the worst by a country mile.


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03/13/2014 4:49PM
Deke: Of all the ones that are gone, #43 hurts the most!
Please Enter Your Comments Below
03/13/2014 5:30PM
Agreed
Deke - I completely agree - we got rid of Mighty Sproles and kept Minnie Ingram:) Dumb move!!!
03/13/2014 5:45PM
Spot On Deke
Couldn't have said it better, Deke. Not understanding this move at all !! Gonna hurt. Yard for yard (except for Mr. Brees)....Sproles was our most valuable asset for the dollar that we had. Stupid is as stupid does !
03/13/2014 6:33PM
Of all the ones that have gone,#43 hurts the most
Couldn't agree more Deke ,Sproles looked like he had WINGS ON HIS FEET at times as he cut through the oppositions defense,those types of DYNAMIC,EXCITING PLAYS will be missed as he will be by many SAINTS fans.
03/13/2014 6:36PM
of all the ones who have gone,# 43 hurts the most
I forgot to mention,the above comment came from Tony in Melbourne Australia
03/13/2014 8:01PM
#43
Yes this one hurts the most but just think we were saying the same thing when R Bush left. We have to trust the Saints brass on this one. LCP
03/13/2014 8:25PM
Couldn't agree more
Really not happy to see Sproles go! Great team player.
03/13/2014 8:54PM
I have a tear in my eye
He will be greatly missed. Thank you Mighty Sproles, #43 will never be the same. Pamela Harry
03/13/2014 9:40PM
of all the ones that have gone, #43 hurts the most
Thank you Deke, I couldn't have said it better. I'm so sad they made this decision. It's a sad day for the Black and Gold
03/13/2014 9:43PM
of all the ones.................
Rarely do i agree with you Deke, but you're right in this case. I also felt like my son got cut when we let lance moore go! So it's a tough sentimental year for sure
03/13/2014 9:48PM
A sad day in the Whodat Nation..
I had the opportunity to attend Saints training camp last year, and I was lucky enough to see Sproles in action up close. He is an amazing player! I couldn't believe his size knowing how amazing he was on the field. I agree, losing him really hurts. He's a class act. I hope Philadelphia treats him much better.
03/13/2014 9:59PM
hate to see him go
thought this was well said I don,t know what the front office is thinking but think the moves they have made this one for sure is going to come back to haunt them God bless Darren n fly & best of luck n one last time Who Dat !!!!!
03/13/2014 10:01PM
Good guy, great player, but it's time.
It seemed as if defenses had us figured out when Sproles was in the game this past season. And I got sick to my stomach watching him trying to return punts and kickoffs, he went nowhere. I like Sproles as a player but he did this to himself as he lost some dynamic playmaking ability this past year. I wish him well in Philly!
03/13/2014 10:04PM
a sad day but ,he did lose a few steps last year
a good replacement ,would be jeff scott from ole miss ,he is cold blooded.
03/13/2014 11:07PM
Sprolja
Love me some Sproles. I agree this trade has hurt me the most too. He will be very hard to replace. Just because it is a business doesn't mean there are tough decisions that have to be made. I do trust Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton. I just hope weall will get a great player in return. All the best to you Darren Sproles, the Who Dat fans love you, appreciate all you did for the team and the city.
03/13/2014 11:12PM
sad
Agreed I hope he doesn't come back to bite us in our behinds like Ivory did. But his trashy wife can go!
03/14/2014 6:34AM
Crazy
I have been a Saints fan since 1967 the release of Sproles is crazy. He is going to come back to haunt us in the worst way I fear. I will really miss him. Now his Compton wife is another story.
03/14/2014 8:06AM
A great loss
I hope to see him again in black gold. Stranger things have happen in the NFL. I wish the very best to Darren Sproles one of the leagues BEST ALL Purpose Running-Back!! Thanks,
03/14/2014 1:02PM
Crob1
The move hurts you bet. There is a bright side though, having Sproles out there was great but you must admit watching the Saints play you wanted to see some smashmouth football every once and a while. Even in the the game against Seattle the emphasis wasput on misdirection when we should have run that ball right down their throats over and over again.
03/15/2014 11:12AM
A blow to the stomach
I didn't saw this one coming. I pray to God that he does not punish the organization for this move. I wonder where Sproles met his wife at, you don't curse and mention Gods all mighty name in the same sentence.
03/15/2014 7:42PM
Sproles makes plays
Agree bad evaluation on Payton's part.
03/15/2014 11:23PM
Great Opportunity for Sproles
Sorry to see him go. He was a great player and unique. He was also a great teammate, leader and community contributor. It sounds like he did end up getting a good el from the Eagles n they re very excited to get him. I fully expect him to do well throughout the reminder of his.career. Thank you Darren and the bet of everything to you in the future.
03/15/2014 11:35PM
Stop the insanity please!
Sproles was great, but we got him 5 years too late. I'm sure he'll look good this upcoming season because he'll have a chip on his shoulder. But after he'll decline. Age attacks us all and have never lost a battle. With that beingsaid, Thanks for all the memories and God bless.
03/16/2014 10:24PM
43 Sproles
#43 will always be Sproles. Maybe I am missing something, but that does not seem like a smart move
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