The New Orleans Saints announced today that unrestricted free agent fullback Heath Evans has agreed to terms on a two-year contract.
Evans, a 6-0, 250-pound product of Auburn, will be entering his ninth NFL season in 2009. He is a veteran of 121 career regular season games, with 12 starts, and has registered 157 carries for 561 yards for a career rushing average of 3.6 yards and three touchdowns. As a receiving option out of the backfield, Evans owns 40 career receptions for 328 yards (8.2-yard average) with one score. A durable and steady performer, Evans has been inactive for only three games over the course of his eight-year career.
"Heath is a versatile and fundamentally sound fullback who can help our offense in a variety of roles, whether it be as a lead blocker, as a runner or receiving option out of the backfield as well as on special teams," said Executive Vice President/general Manager Mickey Loomis. "He has played in a few different offensive systems and has adapted quickly and been a contributor to all of them."
Evans served has served as a valuable lead blocker throughout his career and helped former Seahawk Shaun Alexander to record four straight seasons over 1,000 yards between 2001-2004. In 2004 Alexander established a then club-record for most rushing yards in a season with 1,696 yards. Most recently Evans helped the Patriots average 4.0 yards per carry from during his tenure and rack up 74 rushing touchdowns over the past four seasons.
"Heath is a tireless worker and someone we were very impressed with after spending time with him," said Head Coach Sean Payton. "He's very excited about the various things we do from an offensive perspective and is a well-rounded and versatile player. In addition he has played quite a bit on various special teams units throughout his career and been a reliable and dependable player in many different situations."
Evans was selected in the third round (#82 overall) in the 2001 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks and played four seasons in the Pacific Northwest before moving as an unrestricted free agent to the Miami Dolphins in 2005. Following his release by the Dolphins in late October of 2005, Evans immediately was signed by the New England Patriots and went onto set career-highs in carries (52) and rushing yards (192) over the course of the final six games of the season. He collected a career-high 84 yards rushing yards on 17 carries against the Dolphins three weeks after being released by Miami and added three receptions for 18 yards. The following week he again led the team in rushing with 74 yards on 16 carries in a victory over the Saints.
Evans has also played in nine career postseason games (three with Seattle and six with New England) and has registered five carries for 13 yards and six receptions for 49 yards.
The native of West Palm Beach, Fla. also owns 14 career kickoff returns for a 14.4 average and has been a special teams mainstay throughout his career with 29 career stops.
Away from the field, Evans has established the Heath Evans Foundation, which is dedicated to fostering hope and healing in the lives of children and families affected by sexual abuse.