Photos of new Saints linebacker A.J. Klein.
A.J. KLEIN - LB
COLLEGE: IOWA STATE
JOINED SAINTS: UFA-17 (CAR)
NFL EXPERIENCE: 5
NFL CAREER – A solid contributor on defense and special teams, A.J. Klein joined the Saints as an unrestricted free agent at the start of the free agency period. Klein spent his first four NFL seasons in Carolina after being selected by the Panthers out of Iowa State in the fifth round (148th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft. The Kimberly, Wis. native's appeared in 60 games with 24 starts posting 155 tackles (121 solo), four sacks, one interception, 15 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and 27 special teams stops. His combination of intelligence and versatility put him in position to compete for a starting position in New Orleans' defense in 2017.
CAREER TRANSACTIONS – Agreed to terms with Saints on a three-year contract (UFA-CAR), 3/10/17; Signed by Carolina to a four-year contract, 5/23/13; Selected in the fifth round (148th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft by Carolina.
2016 – Played in 15 games with seven starts recording 31 tackles (26 solo), a sack, a career-high two forced fumbles, a pass defensed and two special teams stops. Opened one contest on the outside and the final six games in the middle. 2015 – Played in 15 regular season games with seven starts and posted a career-high 56 tackles (42 solo), one sack and one forced fumble. Led the team with 13 special teams tackles. Also added three stops in three postseason game…Vs. New Orleans Sept. 27, started at MLB in place of an injured Luke Kuechly and established a career-high with team-leading 15 tackles...Vs. Atlanta Dec. 13, forced a fumble of RB Devonta Freeman, recovered by Carolina and sacked Falcons QB Sean Renfree for a loss of eight yards, as part of a defense that helped Carolina record the shutout win…Contributed to a unit that finished sixth in the NFL in total defense. 2014- Played in 14 games with eight starts. Posted 44 tackles (37 solo) and finished second on the team with eight special teams tackles, contributing to a unit that was ranked 10th in the NFL in total defense. 2013 – Played in all 16 games his rookie season, starting two contest posting 24 tackles (16 solo), two sacks for 21 yards in losses and four special teams tackles…Made first NFL start at San Francisco Nov. 10, responded with a career-high six tackles and first career sack, dropping 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick for a 14-yard loss. Part of defense that limited 49ers to 151 total net yards and 46 net passing yards, recorded six sacks and forced two turnovers…Contributed to a unit in 2013 that ranked second in the NFL in total defense (second in rushing and sixth in passing) and points allowed and led the league in sacks.
COLLEGE – Played in 51 games with 38 starts at Iowa State...Three-time All-Big 12 Conference choice made 21 starts at MLB, 12 at SLB and five at WLB and produced at least 110 tackles in each of three seasons as a starter...Finished college career with 361 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, three sacks, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, five interceptions and nine passes defensed...Tied NCAA career record for linebackers with a school-record four interception returns for touchdowns...Set Big 12 Conference record with a 53.0-yard interception return average...As a senior in 2012, was a first-team All-Big 12 Conference selection as he led the Cyclones for the second consecutive season with 117 tackles...As a junior in 2011, named Co-Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year, a first-team All-Big 12 choice and was selected as the team's most valuable player when he ranked second in the conference with a team-leading 116 tackles...Big 12 honorable mention as a sophomore in 2010 when he collected 111 tackles, eight tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, three interceptions and one pass defensed...Played in 13 games as a freshman in 2009 and notched 17 tackles, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery…Kinesiology-physical therapy major.
PERSONAL – Attended Kimberly (Wis.) HS...High school team went 37-1 during his career...As team captain led team to back-to-back Division II state championships in his final two season…Lettered in football and track and field…Born July 30, 1991 in Appleton, Wis.