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Rookie receiver A.T. Perry hopes to fill the role New Orleans Saints envision for him

'I come out and I want to be a legend. That's my motto'

New Orleans Saints wide receiver A.T. Perry participated in the team's 2023 OTA practices on May 23, 2023 at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.

A.T. Perry doesn't need a history lesson or a slew of references.

He knows.

When the New Orleans Saints offense was at peak efficiency, its best receiver was Marques Colston, the franchise all-time leader in receptions (711), receiving yards (9,759) and receiving touchdowns (72). And since Colston wrapped a 10-year career in 2015, New Orleans has given test runs to several players in search of the new Colston.

Perry is next in line and for now, at least, the rookie carries with him a few similarities.

Like Colston, Perry was a late-round pick (sixth round pick, No. 195 overall) who presents size (6 feet 3, 205 pounds) and had a productive college career (2,662 receiving yards on 171 catches and a school-record 28 touchdowns, including the Wake Forest single-season record of 15 in 2021). Colston, a seventh-round pick (No. 252 overall) from Hofstra in 2006, checked in at 6-4, 225 pounds and caught 182 passes for a school-record 2,834 yards and 18 touchdowns in college.

Now, though, Perry begins the uphill climb to parlay his talents into professional production, as did Colston.

"I think it's pretty cool, being compared to one of the greats that's been through this system, been with this team," Perry said. "I just hope to make a big impact, coming out ready to play.

"I wouldn't say there's any pressure there. I'm just coming out and doing my job, doing it to the best of my ability. Most importantly, I come out and I want to be a legend. That's my motto. Every day I step on the field, in practice and meetings and everything, I take everything seriously."

One of the steps to take toward meeting the motto is whether Perry can fill the role that Coach Dennis Allen said the Saints lacked last season. Specifically, Allen said New Orleans needed a player on offense who can make contested catches, a trait that helped Colston be inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame, and likely will eventually lead to his inclusion in the Saints Ring of Honor. That element in the Saints' offense last season was significantly reduced by the injuries to Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry.

"Even when I was at Wake, that's some of the things that we worked on," Perry said. "Coming into this system and having the ability to make those contested catches speaks well."

Perry had an appreciation for the Saints' system before he was drafted into it.

"I used to watch the Saints all the time on TV," he said. "Coming in and being a part of this system and learning this system, it's kind of great. Seeing it on TV and actually coming here and playing in the offense, playing with (quarterback) Derek Carr and (receiver) Chris Olave and all those guys, it's something special.

"I'm picking up the system well, day by day going through it with the coaches and my teammates as well. Just understanding the concept of everything. I'm picking it up very well, just adjusting here and there and based on certain routes, just asking questions and stuff like that."

Perry is playing one position for now, but learning the others.

"Knowing what everybody does on the field helps me a lot," he said.

"It's great. Teammates, coaches, how well bonded everyone is. Coming in, it's like I'm part of the family and that's the kind of system I wanted to be a part of."

New Orleans Saints players participated in the team's 2023 OTA practices on May 30, 2023 at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.

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