Skip to main content

Roman Harper - Saints Legends - History, Career Stats, College Background, Awards

Saints-Legends-Lockup (1)
New Orleans Saints strong safety Roman Harper smiles before an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J.
New Orleans Saints strong safety Roman Harper smiles before an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J.

Roman Harper

COLLEGE: Alabama


BORN: December 11, 1982 in Prattville, Ala.


YEARS WITH SAINTS: 2006-2013, 2016

Roman Harper's Career Background

Re-signed in 2016 with New Orleans, where he established himself as one of the NFL's most physical defensive backs, as well as a locker room leader and philanthropist in the community, Roman Harper is the only safety in Saints history to have been selected to two Pro Bowls. In 2016, Harper contributed on both defense and special teams, while providing invaluable leadership, playing in all 16 games with four starts and recording 32 tackles (23 solo) and five coverage stops. Entering 2017, his 18 career sacks rank first among active defensive backs and are tied for ninth all-time, the most by a DB since 2006. The Prattville, Ala. native's a veteran of 11 NFL seasons, playing his first nine in New Orleans. Since being selected in the second round out of the University of Alabama by New Orleans in the 2006 NFL Draft, Harper has played in 156 career regular season games with 140 starts and has career totals of 905 tackles (648 solo), 18 sacks, 11 interception, 68 passes defensed,13 forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and 44 special teams stops. He has played in 13 career postseason contests with 12 starts and has recorded 60 tackles (41 solo), 1.5 sacks, six passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two special teams stops. No current Saint has matched the 775 stops he has posted in a Black and Gold uniform. The 11-year veteran launched his Harper's Hope 4*1 Foundation in 2009 to support various outreach projects and for his efforts in 2016, he was named the team's Man of the Year, the club nominee for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

2016 – In his first season back in New Orleans, played in all 16 games with four starts and registered 32 tackles and five special teams stops…Started his first contest of season at SS vs. Atlanta, Sept. 26 and recorded three tackles (two solo). 2015 – Started 16 games at SS for a Panthers defense ranked sixth in the NFL, including fourth in rushing…Opened all 16 games for the second straight campaign and the sixth time in his career…Finished with 73 tackles (58 solo), a career-high two fumble recoveries and seven passes defensed…Started all three postseason contests and added eight stops…Vs. New Orleans, Sept. 27, recovered a fumble by Saints TE Benjamin Watson that helped set up a field goal to put the Panthers up 2016 in the third quarter.  2014 – Started 16 games at SS for a Panthers defense that ranked 10th in the NFL in opponent net yards per game and led the team with a career-high four interceptions and ranked third with eight passes defensed…Finished third on the team with 57 tackles to go along with one sack and one forced fumble…Started both postseason contests and recorded five solo tackles…Intercepted a pass by QB Josh McCown to set up a TD at Tampa Bay, Sept. 7…Equaled his career-high with three passes defensed at New Orleans, Dec. 7…At Tampa Bay, Dec. 14, blitzed McCown for a sack, hitting his arm just before he released the ball to cause a fumble. Marked 18th career sack, the most by a defensive back in the NFL since 2006…Earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors at Atlanta, Dec. 28, when he returned an interception of a pass by QB Matt Ryan 31 yards for a TD to help the Panthers clinch the NFC South…In NFC Wild Card Playoff game vs. Arizona, 1/3/15, part of defense that set an NFL record for the fewest yards allowed in a postseason game (78).  2013 – Appeared in nine games with five starts and recorded 42 tackles (29 solo), one interception, one pass defense and one fumble recovery. Started both postseason contests and made 14 tackles (six solo) and one pass defense…Started 100th career game in vs. Atlanta, Sept. 8 and posted four tackles, one fumble recovery and a game-saving interception in the end zone late in the fourth quarter to seal the win. It marked the first time a Saint had posted both an interception and a fumble recovery in a game since S Jay Bellamy did so at Washington on October 18, 2002…Missed seven games with a knee injury…In his next start after returning to action the prior week, led team with 14 tackles (eight solo) at Atlanta, Nov. 21…Started and led club with nine tackles (six solo) in regular season finale vs. Tampa Bay, Dec. 29…In NFC Divisional Playoff game at Seattle, 1/11/14, had a postseason career-high 12 tackles (five solo) to tie for the team lead, with one of the tackles stopping QB Russell Wilson two yards short of a first down in the fourth quarter on a third-and-two scramble. 2012 – Voted by teammates as one of six team captains. Started all 16 games at SS and posted a career-high 124 tackles (91 solo), ranked second on the team and also added nine passes defensed, two interceptions and one forced fumble. Had six or more tackles in nine contests…Recorded 12 tackles (10 solo) and two passes defensed vs. Kansas City, Sept. 23…Registered 11 stops (seven solo), two passes defensed and one interception returned for 41 yards vs. San Diego, Oct. 7…Totaled a season-high and team-best 13 tackles (nine solo), one pass defensed and one interception at Oakland, Nov. 18…Tied a season-high with 13 stops (11 solo) vs. Tampa Bay, Dec. 16…Recorded a team-leading six solo tackles, one pass defense and one forced fumble vs. Carolina, Dec. 30. 2011 – Started all 16 regular season games and both postseason contests at SS and registered 116 tackles (77 solo), a career-high 7.5 sacks, nine passes defensed, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Had five games of double figure tackles. Takedown total ranked second for a safety in NFL record books since sacks became an official statistic in 1982…At Green Bay, Sept. 8, recorded 10 tackles (seven solo) and split a sack…Registered two sacks, six tackles (four solo), and one pass defensed vs. Chicago, Sept. 18. Named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for the first time…Finished with eight tackles (seven solo) and added one pass defensed vs. Houston, Sept. 25…Had 10 tackles (six solo), one pass defense, and one sack at Jacksonville, Oct. 2…Made six solo tackles and one sack at St. Louis, Oct. 30…Tied for the team-high with 10 tackles (seven solo),  sack, and a forced fumble vs. Tampa Bay, Nov. 6…Set career-high with 16 tackles (11 solo) in addition to a sack for a loss of eight yards and one pass defensed at Atlanta, Nov. 13. Named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for second time…Registered four tackles (three solo) and a fumble recovery vs. N.Y. Giants, Nov. 28…Finished with 10 tackles (two solo) and two passes defensed vs. Detroit, Dec. 4…Made five tackles (four solo) and one sack at Minnesota, Dec. 18…Contributed five tackles (four solo) and two passes defensed in vs. Carolina, 1/1/12…Registered seven tackles (five solo) and tied postseason career-high with two passes defensed in NFC Wild Card Playoff game vs. Detroit, 1/7/12…Recorded two solo tackles, a pass defense, a forced fumble, and 1.5 sacks, the first takedowns of his postseason career, in NFC Divisional Playoff game at San Francisco, 1/14/12. 2010 – Started 15 regular season games and one playoff contest at SS. Recorded 100 tackles (82 solo), three sacks, one interception, 10 passes defensed, five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Set career-highs in passes defensed and forced fumbles. Tied for fifth in the NFL in forced fumbles, while his quarterback takedown total was tied for fourth among safeties…Became the first Saints safety selected to two Pro Bowls…Vs. Minnesota, Sept. 9, made six tackles (five solo) with one pass defense and forced a hurried throw by QB Brett Favre that was intercepted by LB Jonathan Vilma…In Monday night win at San Francisco, Sept. 20, finished with six tackles (five solo), an interception and a forced fumble…After missing Oct. 3 contest vs. Carolina (hamstring), returned to lineup at Arizona, Oct. 10, and had seven solo tackles, one forced fumble and one pass defensed…Recorded seven solo stops and forced a fumble for the second straight week at Tampa Bay, Oct. 17…At Carolina, Nov. 7, led team with 10 tackles (nine solo), three passes defensed, a sack and three special teams stops…Third quarter strip and recovery of ball fumbled by RB Marshawn Lynch stopped a potential scoring drive vs. Seattle, Nov. 21…Ended Bengals' hopes at Cincinnati, Dec. 5, with a sack of QB Carson Palmer on last play to go along with eight tackles (six solo)…Posted 10 tackles (eight solo), a pass defensed, a forced fumble and a sack at St. Louis, Dec. 12. First quarter strip of RB Steven Jackson was recovered by CB Jabari Greer. Third quarter sack of QB Sam Bradford forced St. Louis to punt…In NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Seattle, 1/8/11, made seven tackles (four solo). 2009 – Opened all 16 regular season games at SS, and two of three postseason contests. Finished second on team with a career-high 127 tackles (87 solo), 1.5 sacks, seven passes defensed, two forced fumbles and five special teams stops…In Super Bowl XLIV vs. Indianapolis, started and had eight stops and broke up two passes…With the Saints opening with three cornerbacks vs. Minnesota in the NFC Championship, didn't start a game for the first time in his NFL career. Contributed with five tackles and one forced fumble…Led the team with 10 tackles, including one for a loss vs. Detroit, Sept. 13…Had eight stops (six solo), including dropping QB Kevin Kolb for a six-yard loss, at Philadelphia, Sept. 20…Turned in a big performance vs. N.Y. Giants, Oct. 18, with eight tackles, one sack and one forced fumble that set up a TD. Also hit QB Eli Manning, affecting a pass intercepted by CB Jabari Greer…At Miami, Oct. 25, forced a fumble that set up a TD, had six tackles and broke up a pass…Led Saints with 11 stops at Atlanta, Nov. 2…Bested a career-high from week before with 14 stops (11 solo) vs. Carolina, Nov. 8…Deflected two passes and had 12 stops at St. Louis, Nov. 15, giving him a three-game tackle total of 37…Dec. 19 vs. Dallas, made five tackles – two behind the line of scrimmage – two passes defensed and a special teams stop. 2008 – Started all 15 games he appeared in, inactive at Washington, Sept. 14, with an injured hamstring. Finished third on team with a 106 tackles (72 solo) and added nine passes defensed and one forced fumble. Also had 12 special teams stops…Led secondary with eight stops vs. Tampa Bay, Sept. 7, and added two special teams stops…Had 10 tackles (seven solo) vs. San Francisco, Sept. 28, the first of four performances with double-digit totals…Posted 10 solo stops and knocked away a pass at Kansas City, Nov. 16…Had two passes defensed and 10 tackles (six solo) vs. Green Bay, Nov. 24…At Tampa Bay, Nov. 30, had a career-high four special teams tackles…Deflected a pass, forced a fumble and posted three tackles at Detroit, Dec. 21…Had 10 tackles (eight solo) vs. Carolina, Dec. 28. 2007 – Rebounded from a season-ending knee injury in 2006 and started all 16 games at SS, posting 96 tackles (63 solo) to tie for third on team and added four sacks, three interceptions with 58 return yards and a touchdown, seven passes defensed, two forced fumbles and 10 special teams stops. Sack total led all NFL defensive backs and ranked second on the team. Interception total was tied for the team-high. Had six or more tackles in 10 contests…At Seattle, Oct. 14, had eight tackles (seven solo), two sacks on blitzes and a pair of passes defensed…At Carolina, Nov. 25, posted six solo stops, his first career interception and forced a fumble to set up a TD…At Atlanta, Dec. 10, scored first career TD, returning an interception 31 yards…Tied career-high at Chicago, Dec. 30, with two sacks, adding six stops and a forced fumble. 2006 – Started all five games he appeared in at SS, notching 32 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble…Tackle total ranked third on team after five games…Had seven tackles and one sack for an eight-yard loss in his NFL debut at Cleveland, Sept. 10… Notched four tackles, a pass defensed and a forced fumble vs. Atlanta, Sept. 25…Departed vs. Tampa Bay, Oct. 8, in fourth quarter with a season-ending knee injury that required surgery…Placed on Injured Reserve, Oct. 10.

Attended Prattville (Ala.) HS, where he played both QB and FS…Finished with 58 tackles and four interceptions in limited time as a senior because of a broken leg…With the help of the United Way, Phoenix of New Orleans (PNOLA) and St. Bernard Project, Harper helped spearhead an effort and partnered with teammates to have several homes in New Orleans built for families through the "Hope for the Holidays" program…During the 2016 bye week, served as a substitute teacher for a day at Belle Chasse High School…Born Dec. 11, 1982 in Prattville, Ala.

Roman Harper's College Career

Four-year letterman at Alabama who became a contributor as a freshman and started his final three seasons for a Crimson Tide defense that was annually ranked among nation's top units…Departed ranked sixth in school history with 302 tackles (189 solo), five interceptions, five forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and 3.5 sacks…Was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection as a senior, when he had 69 tackles, two forced fumbles and one interception…As a junior he moved from strong to free safety and was voted second-team All-Conference with 77 tackles (45 solo), three interceptions, a pair of fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one sack…Started at strong safety in 2003 and recorded a career-high 114 tackles (79 solo), an interception and recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown…As a freshman in 2002, appeared in 12 games with one start…Redshirted in 2001…Graduated in December, 2005 with a bachelor's degree in management.

Roman Harper's Career Honors

Super Bowl champion - XLIV

Pro Bowl - 2009, 2010

Ed Block Courage Award - 2007 (Saints recipient)

Saints Man of the Year - 2016 (Team nominee for NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award)

New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame