Saints outside linebacker Junior Galette lived with an aunt in Haiti until age 10 before reuniting with his parents in a New York suburb, and in his own words, "came from nothing."
Cameron Jordon was practically born into the NFL - a child of privilege whose father played tight end for the Minnesota Vikings.
As defensive teammates in New Orleans, they complement each other rather well, emerging this season as one of the most effective pass-rushing tandems in the NFL.
"I respect what Cam has done to get here," Galette said after Thursday's practice, reflecting on his and Jordan's divergent paths to pro football. "I came from nothing, but in some ways it's harder when you know you always have someone to support you. He was able to stay motivated."
Jordan, who is 6-foot-4, 287 pounds, played four years at the University of California before the Saints selected him in the first round - 24th overall - of the 2011 draft.
After Jordan finished last season with eight sacks, the Saints hoped he'd emerge as an elite pass-rushing end in 2013.
He has 11 1/2 sacks so far this season, making him the first Saints player since Will Smith in 2009 to surpass 10.
Galette isn't far behind - with nine - as the Saints (10-3) prepare to travel to St. Louis (5-8) on Sunday.
"Both of them have good motors," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "Those two guys have really stepped up and given us consistent pressure. Sometimes it may not result in sacks. Sometimes it may result in a hurry that results in an incompletion. On third down, that's (getting the defense) off the field."
With 20 1/2 sacks combined, Jordan and Galette represent the second-most productive sack tandem in the NFL.
The only teammates to combine for more sacks this season are Kansas City's Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, who each have 11.
While Jordan was a returning starter, it wasn't clear last offseason how prominent of a role the 6-2, 258-pound Galette would have in his fourth pro season.
With the Saints switching to a 3-4 front under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, Galette was moved from end to outside linebacker, but still was expected to be an edge pass-rusher, rotating in to spell projected starter Will Smith.
That changed when Smith had a season-ending knee injury in the preseason.
Now Galette, who was undrafted in 2010, is making the Saints' scouting department look pretty good.
Galette had started his college career at Temple, spending three seasons there, but was dismissed when a relative staying with him was caught with stolen property. He finished his college career at Division II Stillman.
"He's obviously come a long way," Payton said. "He was a free agent we looked closely at. We saw speed and athleticism in the player. ... Where he's at now is because he had a vision and he worked extremely hard."
Galette became increasingly optimistic about this season shortly after Ryan was hired.
"When Rob got here, he actually called me. He said he's looking at this film and didn't really know who I was before. And he was like, `Wow, you can be special,'" Galette recalled. "I'm like, `Man, this guy's just building my confidence up.'"
In New Orleans' 31-13 victory over Carolina last Sunday night, the Saints sacked Cam Newton five times. Galette was credited with three and Jordan two.
Galette said he and Jordan sensed early on that they could cause havoc together in opposing offensive backfields, and shared the belief since the season started they would combine for 20 sacks or more.
"We knew it was going to happen. Like, we called it," Galette said. "We knew that (Jordan) has the power and all the skill set to beat any tackle in this league. And I come off the edge with speed and push the pocket."
Galette and Jordan say credit for their production goes in no small part to the Saints interior linemen for compressing the pocket, as well as to those in pass coverage for giving them the time to get to the quarterback. But middle linebacker Curtis Lofton said Galette and Jordan have been exceptional.
"They have taken steps toward being a very good or even special pass rushers," Lofton said. "They have all the moves - a bull rush, speed rush, spin move. They have a counter to whoever is going to try to block them."
Notes: TE Josh Hill (hamstring), S Rafael Bush (ankle) and LB Keyunta Dawson (calf) missed practice. ... DE Glenn Foster (knee) and DT Brodrick Bunkley (back) were limited.
OK, I've been out of the loop. And I'm not just saying this to get by from being on vacation! But sometimes when you look at things from a distance, you get a different take.
I, like many of you, have combed the web sites, read some of the...
Ok the way I felt about last year is that it's just that, last year. I don't buy into how tough a team's schedule is going to be based on what they did a season ago. But that is exactly how some evaluate how tough a team's schedule is going to...
The National Football League has long tried to clean up its image on and off the field. Now the NFL is targeting the use of the N-word. The league is hoping to pass a new rule that would call for a 15 yard penalty to be thrown against anyone using the...
The 2014 college baseball season is underway, and both the LSU Tigers and the Tulane Green Wave are both off to perfect 4-0 starts. "I could not be more pleased with our progress. We are hitting well, running the bases well and we are playing sound...
Roman Harper spoke to me on Sports Talk about his career that lasted eight years with the Saints including five trips to the playoffs and a Super Bowl Title in the 2009 season. He is as classy as they come. "It's a business, Deke. We as players know...
The Saints will release wide receiver Lance Moore, and save almost $5 million in cap space in the process.
The addition of last year's rookie WR Kenny Stills make this move more palatable. Moore was a part of the Saints' 2009 Super Bowl run, ...
The Saints are reportedly exploring the possibility of trading three big names on offense.
Those names are Pierre Thomas, Lance Moore and Darren Sproles, according to ESPN.
The cash-strapped Saints could trim several million dollars off the salary...
The Saints have put a non-exclusive franchise tag on Jimmy Graham. If you're not familiar, that means another NFL team - any NFL team - could make an offer and negotiate a contract with Graham.
Of course, the Saints would have the right to match...
Tune in to "Sports Talk" today from 4pm to 8pm to hear Kristian and Bobby discussing possible Graham trade!
What if I told you the Saints should franchise tag tight end Jimmy Graham then promptly trade him? Blasphemy? Hardly. Graham is one of a...