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Saints Hall of Fame induction shines spotlight on Jabari Greer the player and the person

Saints legend spent five seasons with team including Super Bowl XLIV championship

Check out the pregame warm-ups from the New Orleans Saints game against the Carolina Panthers in Week 14 of the 2023 NFL season.
Check out the pregame warm-ups from the New Orleans Saints game against the Carolina Panthers in Week 14 of the 2023 NFL season.

In front of his family, New Orleans Saints fans, media and alumni, Saints legend Jabari Greer was celebrated this weekend as he was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame. But for Greer it was an opportunity to showcase the people who made him into who he is as well as share words of wisdom.

"I think once I stand up on here, I have an opportunity to be able to express anything to y'all is that when somebody pours their life and says you, accept it, enjoy it, and honor it, because we don't get that many people that are willing and able to poor into our life," Greer said during his induction speech Friday.

Greer, who started his NFL career undrafted coming out of the University of Tennessee, spent his first five seasons with the Buffalo Bills.

Saints Coach Dennis Allen said the team was targeting Ron Bartell that free agency initially before working out a deal with Greer in 2009. Saints executive vice president and general manager Mickey Loomis said on his weekly radio show last week that the team was hesitant in part due to Greer not having the typical build the team looks for with Greer only being 5 feet 11 and 180 pounds.

"I was a guy that was always picked last at the dance," Greer said.

Greer said he was afraid of signing with the Saints knowing the team had a mixed history of defensive backs and expressed this fear to his uncle and his trainer.

"I told him, I said 'you know what I don't necessarily know if I want to go to the Saints, because I don't want to be just in another number of failed corners' and he looked at me like it was an immediate moment of recollection and said you know 'do something and change it,'" Greer said. I'm thankful that through the time and through the years I got an opportunity to change it."

Right away Greer made an impact as the 2009 team would go on to win Super Bowl XLIV with Greer starting in all three games of the postseason run tallying 12 tackles (11 solo).

Greer would stay with the team until 2013 and play in 63 games for the Saints, starting in 60 of them. Greer racked up nine interceptions, two of them returned for touchdowns, and recorded 68 passes defensed. Greer also recorded 256 tackles, 216 solo, during his time with the Saints.

He would also play in six postseason games during his time with the Saints, all starts, recording three interceptions, 11 passes defensed, and 23 tackles (19 solo).

Greer was formally inducted at a luncheon on Friday, Dec. 8 with a gala celebrating his induction on the following night. The weekend culminated with a brief speech and ceremony before the Saints took on the Panthers on Sunday, Dec. 10. Before the Saints took the field, Greer and defensive end Cameron Jordan led the pregame chant.

During his induction speech Greer used his platform to credit the work other people did to further his career.

"I had to earn my dream and through God's grace, God put people into my life in order to me time and chance there was opportunities, players went down, there were coaches who believed in me, there were people who invested in me, my wife would watch, my wife would take care of business, I had no words, I could show up and I could be free to play and give every single thing that I had not because of this, this talent, this gift that I have, but because of everybody else who was willing to pour their love and to love me and give me every single thing so that I can be successful," Greer said.

Greer thanked plenty of people, but he made sure to express his deepest thanks to his family. Greer had his mother stand up and receive a round of applause and credited her and along with his father for never telling him he couldn't do something.

"She always just directed me toward the next stop," Greer said.

He credited his brother DeAndre, who introduced Jabari for his induction speech, with "setting the road map" it would take to accomplish his dreams and talked about how his brother would always drag him out to play sports with him.

"He showed me what it took, to really go after what you want," Greer said. "He showed me what hunger looks like. Sometimes we need people that's going to show us what hungry looks like. I wasn't hungry until I saw my brother and then I realized I need to get hungry if I really wanted a dream."

Greer credited his sister for all her encouragement.

"You made me feel like I have something to offer, that I have something to give, and what I have to give is worthy," he said.

Greer also called out all five of his children by name and expressed his wishes for them saying there is a hall of fame for them that they can achieve even if it is not football.

"There are no words that I can say to you that will encompass and hold my love," he said.

Two longtime television cameramen, Steve Paretti, who shot Saints games for WDSU for 22 years, and Bob Parkinson, who shot Saints games for WWL for 27 years, received the Joe Gemelli Fleur De Lis Award, which is given to individuals who have contributed to the betterment of the New Orleans Saints and supported the franchise.

Greer said that there are many more hall of famers out there in fields beyond sports.

"How are we going to pour into the next generation so that we can get somebody else up here, young man, young women that we can celebrate and we can honor and say you know what, 'You are set apart. You are different. There is something about you,' and watch them do the same for the next person and next person."

New Orleans Saints Hall of Famer Jabari Greer celebrated his indution into the Saints Hall of Fame with a gala on Saturday, December 9, 2023.

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