COLLEGE: Miami (FL)
BORN: April 16, 1982 in Coral Gables, Florida
JOINED SAINTS: Feb. 2008 via trade with NY Jets
YEARS WITH SAINTS: 2008-2013
Jonathan Vilma's Career Background
Former Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma was inducted into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame in 2017 after playing an important role in New Orleans' quest for the Super Bowl.
Vilma, 6'1, 230 lbs, was originally drafted by the NY Jets out of the University of Miami in the first round (12th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft. He spent four years in New York, totaling 440 tackles (305 solo), 2.5 sacks, 17 stops for loss, 19 passes defensed, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in 55 games with 53 starts for the Jets. In his rookie campaign, Vilma finished with 108 tackles (77 solo), two sacks, and three interceptions with one returned for a touchdown to earn the vote for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. During his sophomore season, he led the league with a combined 173 tackles (128 total).
The Coral Gables, Fla. native suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 2007 season, which would land him in New Orleans via trade, where he would spend the rest of his career. As a Saint, Vilma became a young leader to a struggling defensive unit in 2008, starting all 16 games and recording 132 tackles (98 solo), one sack, four stops for loss, one interception, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. His role on the team earned him defensive captain honors for the 2009 Super Bowl XLIV season, where he led the club in tackles (110) with two sacks and three interceptions. He continued to lead the team in tackles in 2010 with 105 (70 solo) as he was selected to his second consecutive Pro-Bowl (third career). He retired from professional football following the 2013 season, finishing with career totals of 125 games played with 121 starts, 879 tackles (617 solo), 10.5 sacks, 43 stops for loss, 30 QB hits, 40 passes defensed, 12 interceptions with two returned for touchdowns, 11 forced fumbles and 10 fumble recoveries with one returned for a touchdown.
Since retiring from football, Vilma has worked in broadcasting for college football and the NFL, currently as a game analyst for FOX Sports. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the University of Miami and was named to the Orange Bowl Committee in 2018. Vilma is an investor in Urbin, a co-working space and co-living space startup. From 2010-13, Vilma annually hosted celebrity waiter dinners following a pair of Haiti earthquakes in January, 2010 to assist with the rebuilding efforts, an interest of his due to his upbringing as the son of two Haitian immigrants. Currently, Vilma resides in Miami with his daughter.
In addition to being a member of the Saints Hall of Fame, Vilma was selected to the franchise's All-50th Team in 2016.
Jonathan Vilma's College Career
Prior to being drafted by the Jets, Vilma had an impactful career with the Hurricanes, leading the team in tackles for three out of his four years in Miami. He became a starter in his sophomore campaign in 2001, where he helped lead the team to the BCS National Championship win. He was selected to the First-Team All-Big East twice in 2001 and 2002, and as a senior in 2003 he earned All-American honors and the Jack Lambert Trophy while being named a finalist for the Butkus Award.
Jonathan Vilma's Career Honors
Pro-Bowl – 2003, 2009, 2010
Super Bowl XLIV Champion - XLIV
NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year – 2004
PFWA All-Rookie Team – 2004
New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame