- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Like you would expect from any proud franchise, the New Orleans Saints just sent out a massive media package moments after it was announced that offensive tackle Willie Roaf has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The packet included a long list of quotes on Roaf. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.
Team owner Tom Benson: “We’re glad to congratulate William Roaf in his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He meant a great deal to our team during his career with us. He was the best player on our team during his time with us, one of the top players in the history of our franchise and one of the NFL’s greatest at his position.”
Former coach Jim Mora: “Willie Roaf had an outstanding career and definitely belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He possessed exceptional physical talent and a great work ethic. He was blessed with high quality character and a team oriented attitude. He was a team leader, always positive, upbeat, and a fun guy to coach and have on the team. Without question Willie was one of my best and favorite players ever.”
Former Saints defensive lineman Wayne Martin: “I think Willie was Pro Bowl-ready when he got to the league. He had great feet and the other intangibles you look for. He was the best tackle I played against in the league period. The only guy that I played against that came close to him was Anthony Munoz.”
Former Saints offensive line coach John Matsko: “What separated William from the rest is his tremendous desire to be the best. His determination to make himself better was reflected in the way he prepared and the way he played. He practiced like it was game day and never let down. You take that desire, that motivation and then add the great physical skills he possesses – size, speed, quickness, strength and length – you have a Hall of Fame tackle. There was no defender he couldn’t handle. And, when he played the best, he played them better every time he faced them.”
Louisiana Tech offensive line coach Petey Perot, who coached Roaf in college: “When Willie got here, the thing that is the most unique is that he came to us from Pine Bluff as a 220 pound kid that was a raw athlete. We weren’t sure where he would play on the line or at d end. We kept him on the line. He worked, was persistent, continued to do the things that great players have aspirations do and grew to a 315-pounder and an unbelievable player.’’