There may not be a Saints player more anxious to get the 2010 training camp underway than fifth-year wideout Lance Moore. After coming off his career-best season in 2008 when he registered career-highs in receptions (79), yards (928) and touchdowns (10), Moore was in and out of the lineup due to hamstring and ankle injuries in 2009.
Moore described his 2009 campaign as the "toughest road" of his career because he had never missed a game due to injury before
"It was tough to hurt myself in the offseason and had to fight to get back healthy for training camp," said Moore. "I felt healthy once the season started, but got hurt again."
Moore only saw action in seven of the 16 regular season games and his play was limited in his seven appearances. The Toledo alum's biggest performance came in the Saints' 48-27 victory over the Giants on Oct. 18 when he caught six balls for 78 yards and a touchdown.
With Moore missing eight of the final nine regular season contests, Saints head coach Sean Payton debated putting Moore on injured reserve prior to the playoffs. When it came time to decide, coach believed Moore's hamstring and ankle would improve. The gamble paid off in a big way.
"I had to stay positive about it heading into the playoffs," said Moore. "I wanted to make up for the regular season and waited for my opportunity to come to validate the season."
Moore played in all three postseason games and with the Saints trailing the Colts 17-16 with five minutes remaining in Super Bowl XLIV, Drew Brees hit Jeremy Shockey for a two-yard touchdown giving the Saints a 22-17 advantage. The Saints needed to go for two to extend their lead to seven.
Payton had called a run-or-pass play depending on what the defense ran. The Colts blitzed. Brees rolled out to his right and fired a bullet to Moore in the front corner of the end zone. Moore dove near the pylon, hauled in the pass and extended the ball back across the goal line.
The pass was originally ruled incomplete but Payton successfully challenged the play, stating that Moore had possession and crossed the goal line. The Saints took a 24-17 lead and went on to win their Super Bowl in franchise history.
"People were telling me that I had to make a big play in the game and I knew at some point Drew was going to call on me," said Moore. "He made a great pass and luckily I made the play of my career."
At five-foot-nine and 190 pounds, Moore doesn't resemble your typical NFL player. However, his acrobatic catch in front of a packed Sun Life Stadium and a television audience of 106.5 million people, the most-watched program of any kind in television history, gave the Saints wide out newfound stardom.
"I was in Panama City, Fla. over the summer just hanging out with some friends not wearing any Saints gear and a guy started looking at me," said Moore. "The guy walked up to me and just says 'Are you Lance Moore?' It was crazy."
Moore's autograph requests have even reached a new level of stardom.
"I was at an autograph signing and a lady asked me to sign her baby's head," said Moore. "I had been signing pictures and memorabilia for a while and then she walked up with her kid. She had waited just for me to sign her baby. It was pretty funny."
Now with training camp a day away, Moore is ready to put the glory of the Super Bowl run behind him and get back to his 2008 form.
"I am so excited about camp and it has been a long time coming," said Moore. "It's been well over a year since I have felt this good. I am ready to do whatever they want me to do."