Remembering Guido Merkens, former Saints’ Swiss Army knife
Many will recall former New Orleans Saints fan favorite Guido Merkens. The product of Sam Houston State played with the Houston Oilers from 1978-80, before being grabbed off the waiver wire in 1980 by the Saints. He finished his NFL days with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1987.
At 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Merkens was a popular player to his blonde hair, along with a memorable mustache. He lined up at quarterback, wide receiver, running back, safety and punter at various times and also returned punts and kickoffs.
In 1981, Merkens was the the Saints third best receiver, behind fullback Jack Holmes and running back Wayne Wilson in the rush-heavy offense of head coach Bum Phillips, snaring 29 passes for 458 yards and a touchdown.
During the 1982 season, Merkens had 49 pass attempts, completing 18 for 186 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also carried the ball nine times for 30 yards as a runner.
The 1983 playoff push found him filling in for 1979 draft bust Russell Erxleben, punting four times for a 36-yard average.
In 1985, Merkens grabbed three passes for 61 yards and another score despite sharing the offensive snaps with tight end Hoby Brenner, wide receivers Eric Martin and Jeff Groth ad well as fan favorite Hokie Gajan.
Another memorable Saints quarterback, Bobby Hebert, actually caught his first touchdown as an NFL player on a pass from Merkens in a 1985 game against the Vikings.
In 1982, he carried the ball nine times for 30 yards as a runner. He completed his blue-collar NFL career averaging 12 yards per kick return and 7.9 yards per each punt return.
Needless to say, the always willing Merkens covered kickoffs and punts with reckless abandon.
Time will tell if Taysom Hill ever completes a pass in an NFL game for the Saints or anyone else. That said, if he steals a page or two from Guido Merkens’ 10-year career, he could be a valuable asset in many other ways. He is certainly off to a good start.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…