Saints legends Archie Manning, Rickey Jackson and Willie Roaf will be the first three inductees for the organization’s Ring of Honor, the team announced Friday.
Manning, the Saints’ beloved quarterback from 1971-82 and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame; Jackson, linebacker from 1981-93 and a Pro Football Hall of Famer; and Roaf, tackle from ’93-01 as well as a Pro Football Hall of Famer, will be honored at halftime of the Nov. 10 home game against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Ring of Honor will pay tribute to ex-players, administrators and individuals who’ve significantly contributed to the Saints on and off the field, and it will be displayed prominently on the fascia of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome’s Terrace level. Plans for the Ring were unveiled in October, and its selection committee includes team ownership, front office personnel, media members and former players.
“We are excited to ... allow our fans an opportunity to honor the efforts and contributions that these men have made to our franchise,” Saints owner Tom Benson said in a statement. “It is fitting to honor three of the greatest players in our franchise’s rich history in Archie, Rickey and Willie.”
Manning, Jackson and Roaf all expressed their appreciation for the recognition in lengthy statements.
Manning, who threw for 115 touchdowns and rushed in for 18 more with the Saints, said it was “incredible” to be inducted alongside greats such as Jackson and Roaf.
“Not just New Orleans but also southern Louisiana and really the entire Gulf Coast has been so wonderful to our family,” said Manning, who set numerous Saints passing records and then watched two sons, Peyton and Eli, grow up to become Super Bowl-winning QBs. “I ... look forward to a special night.”
Jackson, New Orleans’ all-time leader in sacks (115) and fumble recoveries (26), called the Saints and their fans “a huge and very important part of my life.”
“It will be our names up there (on the Ring of Honor), but I know we proudly represent a lot of people that were key parts of our journeys,” said Jackson, who in 2010 became the first Saint to both spend the majority of his career in New Orleans and be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
Roaf, who helped the franchise win its first-ever postseason game, said, “I know the legacy of incredible athletes that have played in Saints uniforms, but I also know the incredible moments that have shaped the history of the Superdome.”
Roaf — who was named to the Pro Bowl an astounding 11 times during a 13-year NFL career that led him to the Hall of Fame in 2012 — added, “This is a chance for me to once again thank the Saints fans for what they’ve meant to me.”