The event has been held annually for more than thirty years. “When Sean Payton came in (as head coach), he said the he was going to bring the rookies to introduce them to crawfish and southern living,” said John Kohl, President of the Touchdown Club. “It is a great welcome for these players.”
The players received just that and true southern hospitality was shown. A crowd surrounded each player and provided instructions on how exactly to eat crawfish, a south Louisiana staple. Some rookies had a harder time than others in breaking and eating the mudbugs.
“Sometimes we have to just walk them through it,” said Kohl. “Some of them have no idea if they are grown in dirt or raised in the water,” said Vitt.
“It took me a while to get the technique down. Once I got that, I started popping them out. I was popping them like popcorn,” said T
“It was a little weird to me at first. It is my first time. I thought they were still alive,” said the tackle. Once acclimated, Tiller agreed with his offensive line teammate on the taste, which is always enhanced following the boiling process.
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While Toon came to the Saints after playing college football in the upper Midwest, DT
While the players were given a sample of New Orleans food, they still are adapting to the environment and rich culture in Louisiana. Players have enjoyed their time in the Crescent City thus far. “Everything has been good. The people are nice, the food is great,” said Tiller. Hicks added, “From what I have seen, I can tell I am going to love it.”
The club’s first choice in the 2012 NFL Draft was also pleased with the passion shown by New Orleans fans. “The reception has been awesome. I have never seen fans so excited and ready to see their team take the field. I am ready as well.”
At the conclusion of the team’s meal, Joe Vitt addressed the audience and discussed the new players. “We have got a lot of great rookies right here. We have a great incoming class that is going to help us win. We are excited about this year,” he added.
Vitt also talked about the importance of the event. “Our fans have always been supportive of us. It is the least we can do. We try to build our football team like our fans; with a lot of character, a lot of heart, a lot of resolve. Nights like this prove that.”