<span>Whoever said you can't go home again?
The newest New Orleans Saints, CB Randall Gay, is proof that the age-old axiom is indeed a myth.
The Baton Rouge native and former LSU star became the latest addition in what was a hectic-and highly productive long weekend-for the Saints when he officially agreed to terms on four-year contract with the Saints on Sunday afternoon.
Gay, who took the hard road into the NFL (that of an undrafted college free agent into a starter), displayed the same skills in the pros that he displayed while at LSU, where he was a key member of the 2003 National Championship team that defeated Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl for the title.
After going undrafted, Gay signed with the Patriots and honed his skills as a cornerback, safety and nickel back in Patriots' creative defensive sets. While his role changed on a seemingly weekly basis, his desire to be a key contributor never wavered.
"Every player wants to play as much as they can," said Gay. "I think I have been a player that that has never complained about my role throughout my career. I want to be on the field and help my team win. Now that I'm a Saint, my goals aren't going to change. In New England the expectation and goal was to win the next game on the schedule and that served us well. I will bring that mindset to the Saints."
Gay said today that returning to Louisiana and the opportunity to play for the team he grew up rooting for made his decision to join the Saints a relatively easy one, despite fielding offers from a number of suitors, including his previous team, the Patriots.
"The Saints were my first choice. It's where I wanted to be," he said. "After they made a great offer, I jumped on it. It's a great opportunity for me."
Gay figures to fit in quite nicely and will bring his wealth of knowledge to a Saints' secondary that had its fair share of ups and downs last season. The struggles at times are something he was aware of, but said that's a matter of the past and that moving forward is the only way he knows how to approach the game.
"Whatever side of the field (left or right corner) I line up on doesn't matter to me," he said. "That's not important. I'm just going to go out and do my best to compete with the rest of the guys and hopefully make everybody better."
"At the end of the day, you want everybody to play to the best of their ability. We're all competing to make the team better."
"Wherever the coaches want to put me, then I know that is the best spot for the team. The goal is for us to come together as a defensive unit, and for the new players coming in, to fit into the defense and contribute and help us win games," he stated.
Gay also remarked that motivation wouldn't be hard to come by in the upcoming season, as he still harbors a bad taste in his mouth from the Patriots' last minute loss in the Super Bowl at the hands of the Giants.
"I won't be over the loss in the Super Bowl until I put my new Saints uniform on," he said. "The sooner the better. That was a crushing defeat and something that is very disappointing to me to this day. Every championship game I have played in during my life I have won, so for us to lose in the Super Bowl has left a really bad taste in my mouth."
"I can't even watch highlights of that game. I have to get up and leave the room or change the channel when something from that game comes on the television. We were two-and-a-half minutes from victory but we couldn't finish, so that makes it even tougher."
Gay's departure from New England was an emotional challenge, even though the prospect of returning home and playing for the Saints was so appealing, and ultimately the deciding factor in his decision. Whereas many players, once they have moved from one team to another via free agency elect to scorch the earth of their previous team and air their frustrations, don't count Gay among them.
Instead, he gracefully thanked his former head coach, Bill Belichick, for helping him develop as a professional over the course of his four seasons in Foxboro and experience success as a player, including earning a Super Bowl ring during his rookie season.
"I have nothing against New England," Gay said. "I learned a lot from Coach Belichick and hope for the best for him and sincerely thank him for everything that he did for me. He believed in me and helped me to develop as a player."