The New Orleans Saints mourn the passing of former tight end Henry Childs who died at the age of 65 on Friday, June 3. A 1979 Pro Bowl selection, Childs was a key part of the team's high-powered offense of the late 1970s.
"Henry Childs was a key contributor to our offense during his seven years with us and one of the top tight ends in our franchise's history," Saints owner Tom Benson said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones from our whole organization during this difficult time."
A fifth-round pick by the Atlanta Falcons from Kansas State in 1974, Childs played nine seasons in the NFL (Falcons in 1974, Saints from 1974 to 1980, Los Angeles Rams in 1981 and Green Bay Packers in 1984), and totaled 223 career receptions for 3,401 yards and 28 touchdowns, averaging 15.3 yards per catch. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1979 and was a consensus All-NFC selection as he recorded 51 receptions for 846 yards (16.6 average) with five touchdowns, leading NFL tight ends in receiving yardage. Overall as a Saint, the Thomasville, Ga., native made 207 receptions for 3,224 yards (15.6 average) with 227 touchdowns and still ranks 10th on the club's all-time receiving yardage list, second for a tight end. He was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 1994.
After starting his career in Atlanta, Childs joined the Saints during his rookie year and recorded no statistics. From 1975-78 his reception and receiving yardage totals increased each season as he became a more integral part of the team's offense. In 1977, aided by the return of quarterback Archie Manning, who missed the previous season with a shoulder injury, Childs enjoyed a breakout campaign, making 33 grabs for 518 yards (15.7 average.) with nine touchdowns, which was a club record that was not tied until 2001 and broken until 2003, tied for third in the NFL.
In 1978, Childs finished with 53 grabs for 869 yards and four touchdowns, setting career-highs in both catches and yardage. The yardage total led the team and NFL tight ends and ranked ninth in the league overall as he was selected to the UPI All-NFC team. He followed that up with the 1979 campaign and his only Pro Bowl selection. The Saints finished with a .500 (8-8) record for the first time in franchise history and narrowly missed the playoffs. In 1980, Childs was tied for the team lead with six touchdown grabs, as he caught 34 passes for 463 yards. Thomas played one season for the Rams in 1981 and closed out his NFL career with the Packers in 1984.