Saints heed 'Call of Duty'

January, 5, 2011
By Jon Robinson
Darren Sharper/Roman HarperMatt Stamey/US PresswireWhen Darren Sharper and Roman Harper aren't celebrating on the field, they're shooting each other in "Call of Duty: Black Ops."

Want to know how big of a gamer Saints safety Roman Harper is? All you have to do is hear about his birthday party.

Think muscle-bound football players huddled around flat screens with Xbox controllers gripped tight as they blast each other in "Call of Duty: Black Ops" and you get the picture.

Oh, and did I mention there were party hats?

"I'm a big 'Call of Duty' player ... it consumes my life in the offseason," admits Harper. "So earlier this year when I was in Southern California, the people at Activision saw how big I was into the game, so they surprised me with a 'Call of Duty' party. It really turned out fun.

"I even got a motorcycle helmet that looks like one of the helmets the guys wear in the game, and I wore that around all night. We had some fake guns, we had little bullets everywhere, and a 'Call of Duty' mural in the background. I don't think any of my teammates were expecting anything like that and they all enjoyed it. It was a really good time."

I even got a motorcycle helmet that looks like one of the helmets the guys wear in the game, and I wore that around all night.

--Roman Harper

Harper claims that the "Call of Duty" franchise is the most addicting of any video game series ever made, and he's such a fan, he even convinced non-gaming teammates like Darren Sharper to join the online fray.

And now Sharper, a guy who hasn't been into video games since the days of "Donkey Kong," is hooked.

"The thing about 'Call of Duty' is that when you're playing, you really can imagine yourself in that moment," says Sharper. "It lets you know how serious, how scary it would be if you were caught in that moment for real, and that's an adrenaline rush for me. It really gets those competitive juices flowing every time you play the game, and I think that's why it has been so popular."

And when it comes to playing the game, Sharper boasts he's the best on the Saints by far as military instincts run in his family.

"I'm the best 'Call of Duty' player because my father was in Vietnam," Sharper says. "It's just in my genes. I have that sixth sense of knowing when to duck, knowing when to shoot, knowing when to hide. I think that comes from my father being a Vietnam War veteran. He won a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star medal and I think that relates to me being the best 'Call of Duty' player on the team."

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