<span>New Orleans Saints starting free safety Darren Sharper has been named the NFC's Defensive Player of the Month for October.
Sharper, 6-2, 210 pounds, is in his first season with the Saints after signing as an unrestricted free agent with the Saints in March. The William & Mary product, in just three games in the month of October, racked up 17 tackles, intercepted three passes, two that he returned for touchdowns, and added a half a sack. His first interception against the Jets, which he returned a club-record 99 yards, thwarted an early Jets scoring drive and on Sunday at Miami, his 42-yard interception for a score sparked the Saints' early in the second half in their historic comeback bid en route to a 45-34 victory.
It marks the second time in his 13-years in the NFL that Sharper has been selected as the NFC Player of the Month, as he also earned the award in 2005 as a member of the Minnesota Vikings.
Through the first six games of his Saints career, Sharper leads the NFL in interceptions with six thefts, three of which he has returned for touchdowns, and with 317 interception return yards, is 226 yards clear of his next closest pursuer, Bills rookie safety Jarius Byrd (91 return yards).
Sharper, with 60 career interceptions and 11 returns for touchdowns, trails only Hall of Famer Rod Woodson (12) for most interception returns for scores over the course of his career. Last Sunday in Miami, the native of Richmond, Virginia passed Deion Sanders for second place in NFL history with 1,353 interception return yards, and with his 313 yards this season trails only New Orleans native Ed Reed (Baltimore Ravens) by 45 yards for the single-season NFL record.