NFL journeyman and former Saints DT Norman Hand died Friday morning after collapsing at his home in South Carolina. His cause of death is unknown.
Hand played for the Saints from 2000-2002, including the team’s first ever franchise playoff victory against the Rams in 2001. He and La’roi Glover anchored one of the most feared defensive lines in Saints’ history. He garnered Second-Team All Pro honors from Football Digest in 2000 as a Saints.
In his 10 year career, Hand played for the Dolphins, Saints, Chargers Giants, and Seahawks and collected 22.5 sacks. He was drafted in 1995 by the Dolphins after a stellar playing career at the University of Mississippi.
His family issued the following statement Friday afternoon:
“Our beloved Norman was brought to the hospital earlier today. He was unresponsive and resuscitation not successful. He passed away early this afternoon surrounded by his family. Respect for our family will be greatly appreciated as we mourn this incomprehensible loss. We ask that you focus on Norman’s life and the contributions he made rather than on his untimely death.”
Meanwhile former Saints coach Jim Haslett had this to say about his former player..
“He was one of the good guys in the business and a fun-loving person who enjoyed life. He was the centerpiece in the New Orleans Saints’ 2000 defense. Norman, along with La’Roi (Glover), Joe Johnson and Darren Howard make up one of the better defensive lines to play the game. Norman has touched a lot of lives and will be missed.”
Former Saints defensive coordinator Rick Venturi also remembers his former pupil..
“He was always just a fun guy, fun to be around.He always loved life. No matter where you were with him, in the locker room or what. To me, he always had that smile. I always enjoyed being around him.