La'Roi Glover, a star defensive tackle on the first New Orleans Saints team to win a playoff game, was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame on Friday at the 25th annual luncheon. Peter Finney, longtime sports columnist for The Times-Picayune who has covered the franchise since its inception, received the Joe Gemelli Fleur de lis Award at the event held at the Airport Hilton Hotel.
A native of San Diego, Calif., Glover played five seasons with the Saints (1997-2001) and amassed 50 sacks and forced 10 fumbles, averaging 10 sacks per season. In 1998, Glover posted 10 sacks and three forced fumbles as he was selected an Associated Press* *second-team All-Pro. In 2000, Glover had a league-high 17 sacks, the second-most by an NFL defensive lineman at the time, and was named a unanimous first-team All-Pro and earned a Pro Bowl berth as he helped lead the Saints to a division championship and first playoff win. In 2001, Glover had eight sacks and earned his second Pro Bowl honor. Glover was named to the NFL's All-Decade team of the 2000s.
Glover, now an executive with the St. Louis Rams, was introduced by his brother Darcel Glover, who told the story of how the Saints picked up his brother off the waiver wire for a minimal investment.
"He always had to battle through things, people always underestimated him," Darcel said. "For $150 the New Orleans Saints came up with the deal of a lifetime."
In addition to his brother, La'Roi Glover's wife, their three children, his parents and lots of friends and former teammates attended the ceremony, the first of three celebrating his induction. There is an alumnus players gala Saturday evening at Club XLIV in Champions Square and Glover will be honored at halftime of Sunday's Saints game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Glover thanked the Saints executives in attendance – Rita Benson LeBlanc, owner/vice chairman; President Dennis Lauscha, and Jean-Paul Dardenne, Ed Lang, Vicky Neumeier and Mike Stanfield – his two head coaches with the Saints (Mike Ditka and Jim Haslett) and all of his teammates for helping him succeed in the NFL.
The main theme of his acceptance speech was "to never quit."
After the Raiders cut him in 1996 "I could have given it up," he said. "I could have quit. … I was able to pick myself up and keep going."
Finney has been going since he graduated Jesuit High School and began writing for the now defunct States-Item* *in 1945. He wrote the story announcing that New Orleans had been awarded an NFL franchise in 1966 and he wrote the lead column from the team's Super Bowl triumph in 2010.
Finney is a member of four area Halls of Fame. He has received the prestigious Dick McCann Memorial Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010 and will receive the A.J. Liebling Award for outstanding boxing writing from the Boxing Writers Association of America in April.
Finney is "a true icon in sports journalism," Lauscha said.
Finney, who was joined on the dais by his son Peter Finney Jr. and his grandson Father Peter Finney, talked about the "passing parade of athletes who have come through" and how he's felt like he's never had a job in his life.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you," he said. "I don't know what else to say."