Best Saints By The Numbers: #33
All summer long, we’re going to list the best players in New Orleans Saints history to wear every number, 00-99.
The pick: Tyrone Hughes
When deciding who is the best New Orleans Saints player to ever wear #33, the choice is limited to running backs Randy Schultz, Mike Strachan, Wilmont Perry, Moran Norris, Jesse Chatman, Keith Joseph, and Oliniyi Sobomehin, and defensive backs Steve Preece, Kevin Gray, Junior Thurman, Ernest Spears, Tyrone Hughes, Rob Kelly, Ashley Ambrose, Joey Thomas, and Jabari Greer.
All due respect to Greer, who was a quality cornerback for four years for the franchise, but the pick is Hughes, a defensive back/return man, who played four years fro the Saints, from 1993-1996.
After finishing his college career at Nebraska, Hughes was selected by the Saints in the fifth round of the 1993 NFL Draft.
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Hughes made an immediate impact as a return man, returning 37 punts for 503 yards and two touchdowns, and 30 kickoffs for 753 yards and one touchdown.
Those numbers earned Hughes Pro Bowl honors in 1993.
Hughes continued his special teams excellence from 1994-1996, eclipsing 1,500 return yards each season.
On October 23, 1994, in a 37-34 win over the Los Angeles Rams, Hughes set the NFL record for most kickoff return yards in a single game (304) and the most combined kickoff/punt return yards in a game (347). In addition, he also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, which tied another NFL record.
Hughes left the Saints following the 1996 season and signed with the Chicago Bears, where he played one season, before playing the 1998 season with the Dallas Cowboys, his final year in the NFL.
The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Hughes holds the franchise career marks for kickoff return yards (5,717) and punt return yards (1,060), while scoring five touchdowns.
Hughes was inducted into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame in 2015.