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John DeShazier: Saints added a pair of winners in Brandon Browner, Max Unger

Both have Super Bowl rings

Associated Press photos of new New Orleans Saints center Max Unger.

In Brandon Browner and Max Unger, the New Orleans Saints didn't simply acquire a new starting cornerback and center via free agency and a trade, respectively.

New Orleans picked up a pair of champions.

They were teammates on Seattle's Super Bowl XLVIII-winning team two years ago, and Browner doubled up as a member of New England's starting defense this season for the Super Bowl XLIX winners.

So if the path to claiming the Lombardi Trophy varies – even slightly – from season to season, the Saints added a pair of updated playoff tour guides, who know what it takes to win and have more than a passing familiarity with each other.

"We went at it a little bit," a laughing Browner said of Unger, referring to their days together as Seahawks. "I can't wait to get back out there with Max. He's a tough guy. He's on the offensive side of the ball so we went after it in practice from time to time.

"He's also a Duck (Unger played Oregon; Browner, at Oregon State). I look forward to playing with Max, he's one heck of a football player."

"(It was) just a different point of view on the practice field, and on the playing field," Unger said, also laughing, as he referenced his disagreements with Browner. "But B.B. is awesome. (I'll) just (be) doing the things that I've been doing the last few years, just trying to bring the same mentality."

It's a mentality that the Saints will welcome from the two-time Pro Bowl player who was acquired (along with a first-round draft pick) in Seattle's trade for tight end Jimmy Graham, and from the supersized cornerback (6 feet 4, 220 pounds) who paid his dues in the Canadian Football League (four seasons) and with Denver before joining the Seahawks in 2011.

"You just try and be yourself," Browner said. "I'll be a 10th-year guy as far as being a professional (including four years in the CFL), so I kind of know how to carry myself and know some of the things that coaches want out of young guys.

"It's cliché to say you lead by example, (but) I'll show them how hard I work, how dedicated I am to the game, how much it means to me to win. Most young guys gravitate to that, so it'll be fun.

"I like the intrigue of going to a new team and having to prove yourself all over again. I've got to prove myself with these guys, so I look forward to it."

For Unger, the opportunity to play with the league's top-ranked offense in yards per game last season (411.4) – and with a team that has led the league in net yards per game five times since 2006 – is enough to get him excited about moving South.

He and his family live in Hawaii (he was born in Kailua-Kona and played in high school at Kamuela Prep), he played collegiately at Oregon and played for Seattle from 2009 through last season, after entering the NFL as a second-round pick.

"The track record of success and the formula that they have here, it's awesome," Unger said. "It's been a tough team to play since I've been in the league, and we've played quite a few times. They seem to have a good group of guys that know how to win, and it's exciting to be able to contribute to that.

"The concepts are familiar, just from watching them on film. It's cool to get into it and figure it out and see what I can provide and how I can contribute to (the offense).

"This is cool. I'm really excited to be here. This is a cool city, it's an awesome opportunity. Coming to a great franchise and a city – I've never lived in the South before and just from being here one day, it looks like it's going to be a lot of fun."

For Browner, it was about looking for the right feel as a free agent and his comfort level with the Saints skyrocketed because of one of his old teammates, who has become a new teammate.

Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis played with Browner at Oregon State. The Saints, who listed the cornerback position as an offseason priority to be addressed – Lewis has been a standout, and the team has been searching for a bookend – did so by agreeing to terms on a contract with Browner.

"It was just the right fit for me," Browner said. "All things fit well. I get a chance to play with one of my good buddies in Keenan Lewis, whom I went to college with. I'm familiar with (safety) Kenny Vaccaro, and a lot of those guys intrigued me, in their skill-set. I'd like to be a part of that, help those guys hopefully fight for a big one, if all things pan out right.

"I'm very excited. Keenan is one of the reasons I'm signing here, (and) getting a great opportunity to play for a great organization. Great quarterback like Drew Brees – you've got players around in this organization that I'd like to be a part of."

Along with him, Browner will bring rings from back-to-back Super Bowl victories. But not any guarantees.

"I'm not one for making any predictions," he said. "But I can say we've got a shot – if we put the work in, of course."

Associated Press photos of Brandon Browner.

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