Best Saints By The Numbers: #24
All summer long, we’re going to list the best players in New Orleans Saints history to wear every number, 00-99.
Yesterday, we did #23.
The pick: Mario Bates
When deciding who is the best New Orleans Saints player to ever wear #24, the choice is limited to defensive backs Elijah Nevett, Johnny Fuller, Clarence Chapman, Terry Hoage, Scott Woerner, Milton Mack, Rob Kelly, Fred Weary, Monty Montgomery, Dwight Smith, Byan Scott, Corey White, and Leigh Torrence, receiver Margene Adkins, and running backs Joe Williams, Marvin Lewis, Derek Brown, Mario Bates, and Chris Barclay.
This isn't exactly the best number in franchise history, but we're going to go with Bates, a running back, who played with the Saints for 4 seasons, from 1994-1997.
After finishing his college career at Arizona St., Bates was signed selected by the Saints in the second round of the 1994 NFL Draft.
After a rookie season in which he rushed for 579 yards and 6 touchdowns, Bates had the best season of his career in 1995, rushing for 951 yards and 7 touchdowns, both career-highs, while catching a career-high 18 passes for 114 yards.
Despite being a little bit of a disappointing four-year stretch with the franchise, Bates still managed to rush for 2,554 yards, which puts him in ninth place on the Saints' all-time rushing list, and 21 touchdowns, was ranks him eighth.
A native of Victoria, Texas, Bates played the 1998 and 1999 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, before playing the last year of his career with the Detroit Lions in 2000.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Bates finished his 7-year NFL career with 3,048 rushing yards, along with 38 touchdowns.