The New Orleans Saints extend their heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the family of former defensive end Joe Owens, who passed away this week at the age of 68.
Owens was a 6-3, 250 pound native of Columbia, Miss. who was originally selected in the ninth round of the 1969 NFL Draft out of Alcorn State where he was an All-Southwestern Conference selection. Overall in seven NFL seasons, Owens appeared in 87 games for the Saints, San Diego Chargers and Houston Oilers.
Although Owens spent his career with three teams, it was with the team that originally drafted him where he enjoyed his greatest success. Owens first played minor league football in Richmond, Va. as a rookie, while the Saints held his rights. He was then traded to the San Diego Chargers in 1970 where he first became a starter on their defensive line. He returned to the Saints though in 1971 when he was claimed off of waivers by New Orleans and would go on to appear in 70 games over the next five seasons, not missing a contest, as a stalwart on their defensive line.
Owens enjoyed the finest season of his career in 1974, when he was inserted into the right defensive end position in passing situations, and led the team with 10 sacks, while adding a fumble recovery, as the Saints progressed to win five games and finished in third place in the NFC West for the first time.
A regular visitor to Saints Hall of Fame week annually, where he visited with many former teammates, Owens is survived by his wife of 43 years, Burtaniel, along with his sons Joe, Jr. and Derrick.