Former Saints OL LeCharles Bentley, a Cleveland native, sits down with Clevland.com and tells his prespective on the Saints and the love affair the city has with the team few outside the city can understand. He talks about his initial negative thoughts of being drafted by New Orleans in 2002, only to grow and appreciate both the fans and the city and offers a lesson for Browns fans.
His thought on when he first got drafted:
I had the honor of being selected by the New Orleans Saints in the 2002 NFL Draft, but when my telephone rang and former Saints coach Jim Haslett notified me I was their next selection, I was anything but honored. Considering I had just taken team visits to Miami, Dallas and San Diego, I was far from excited about being drafted by the city that was the poorest and most dangerous in America.
It didn’t take me very long to realize statistics were not the sum of what the Crescent City represented. As I grew from a bright-eyed-and-naive college athlete, the city not only grew on me but became a part of me. Growing up in Cleveland, I was fortunate enough to land in a city that mirrored much of what I understood home to be. Both cities were represented by hard-working, resourceful, prideful, compassionate and passionate individuals that above all adored their football teams.