Quarterback Aaron Brooks and kicker John Carney were elected to the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame on Tuesday. The induction ceremony will take place at an unspecified date during the Saints' 2014 season.
Carney, who spent eight seasons in New Orleans as part of his remarkable 23-year NFL career, was elected in his first year of eligibility by the media selection committee (a group that is independent of the Saints' organization). Brooks' enshrinement, however, took a few years since his career in New Orleans was filled with some highs and lows.
Brooks led the Saints to their first-ever playoff victory in 2000 against the St. Louis Rams after being acquired that summer in a trade with the Green Bay Packers. Brooks left after the 2005 season as the Saints’ all-time leader in touchdown passes (120 -- a mark that has since been surpassed by Drew Brees). And Brooks ranks third in franchise history with 19,156 passing yards.
However, Brooks also threw 84 interceptions in his six seasons, and he was never able to lead the Saints back to the playoffs. And at times, his leadership was called into question, which earned him his share of critics among the fan base and media.
Ultimately, however, Brooks will now be honored among the franchise’s all-time greats because those highs outweighed the lows. And he was emotional while giving his acceptance speech on Tuesday.
"Obviously it's very humbling. It's quite an honor to be inducted, to be a part of New Orleans Saints history. And it's very emotional for me at times," said Brooks, who had to pause briefly to collect himself. "I've been a little nervous at times, just knowing what the team and myself accomplished over the years and what we tried to do individually, what my wife and I tried to accomplish in the community ...
"Although there were some trying times, some challenging times, through it all it feels good to know that we have prevailed, we're still standing tall, but more importantly to know that we are being looked at in a different light. Because we did not do it by ourselves."
Carney, who was with the Saints from 2001-06 and 2009-10, is the Saints' career leader in field goal percentage (.828) and ranks second in franchise history in points (768) and field goals made (168).
Carney was part of the Super Bowl championship team in 2009 as a part-time replacement and mentor for young kicker Garrett Hartley. And he was a key part of the team that reached the NFC Championship Game in 2006. He kicked six game-winning field goals in the final 10 seconds for the Saints.
"It was an exciting time to be a Saints player this past decade," Carney said. "I was just blessed to be part of it, and I'm just blessed to have been recognized here at the Saints Hall of Fame."