The New Orleans Saints are saddened to learn of the passing of Parys Haralson, who died Monday, Sept. 13 at the age of 37.
Playing his final two seasons of an eight-year NFL career with New Orleans, Haralson possessed an unforgettable smile, upbeat attitude and was deeply respected by teammates and the coaching staff alike for his combination of dependability, leadership, and professionalism. The organization's thoughts and prayers go out to the Haralson family.
A native of Flora, Miss., north of Jackson, Haralson was a standout at Madison Central High School, where he was a high school All-American as a senior. He was in possession of a diligent work ethic that was installed at the age of 14 when his uncle had him work with him at Sun Belt Bolts and Screws, as well as working at his grandfather's junkyard.
Haralson was a three-year starter on the University of Tennessee defensive line, finishing college career ranked fifth in school history with 21 sacks and graduating with a bachelor's degree in criminology.
Originally selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the fifth round of the 2006 NFL Draft, Haralson's blue collar work ethic carried through to his career with the 49ers (2006-12) and Saints (2013-14), where he appeared in 118 career games with 88 starts and posted totals of 380 tackles (209 solo), 28 sacks, five passes defensed, three forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.
Acquired by New Orleans near the conclusion of the 2013 preseason to add leadership and versatility to the outside linebacker/defensive line group, Haralson immediately moved into the team's rotation and appeared in all 16 regular season games with eight starts and finished with 35 tackles (16 solo), 3.5 sacks and one pass defensed as a part of a Black and Gold unit that finished with a top five ranking. In 2014, he appeared in all 16 games with 12 starts and posted 50 tackles (23 solo), three sacks and one fumble recovery.
Following his retirement from the NFL, Haralson earned an MBA from the University of Miami, served as director of player engagement for the 49ers for three years and also worked in the tech industry in Northern California.