NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - They were two NFL rookies who arrived in New Orleans at the same time in 2006 but took completely different paths to get here. On one end there was Reggie Bush, college football’s poster boy and Heisman Trophy winner from USC. He arrived with the hype of a rock star.
“On a 10 Richter scale drafting Reggie Bush was a 9.9 for this organization," Saints head coach Sean Payton recalled. " If you have a clear memory you remember the crawfish boil across the street. You remember season tickets being sold out within two hours and they have been ever since. That’s pretty dynamic. This was like Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson.”
On the other end of the spectrum was Marques Colston, an unknown wide receiver out of Hofstra who the Saints selected with the final pick in the seventh round. He got to New Orleans just hoping to stick around.
" When you come in the league as a seventh round pick something like this isn’t on your radar," Colston said. " You’re kind of in survival mode day in and day out."
It didn’t take long for both to make an impact. Bush became an instant box office hit, while Colston rewrote the franchise’s receiving record book. Both were pillars of the 2009 Super Bowl team, and today Bush and Colston walked into the Saints hall of fame together.
“It’s special to be able to go into the draft class with Colston,” Bush said. " One thing Coach Vitt used to always say was we were going to walk today forever because of what we were able to accomplish in this city for this football team and it is true because some these guys are still my best friends to this day."
“The first pick of the draft and the last pick of the draft going in to the hall at the same time. I think there’s a lot of organizations and coaches that give lip service on how they evaluate players,” Colston said. "I remember vividly the mindset was, it doesn’t matter how you get here. "
Hurricane Katrina was a theme for this years hall of game class. Joining Bush and Colston was Kathleen Blanco, who was governor then and played a key role in getting the Superdome for the 2006 season.