Nicks, Vilma, Romig enter Saints Hall of Fame ‘together forever’
LIVE: Saints Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies 2017
Posted by New Orleans Saints on Friday, October 27, 2017
Walking together forever.
That was the theme of the 29th Annual Saints Hall of Fame Induction ceremony Friday night.
Appropriately, the ceremony was held at Club XLIV, named after the greatest success in the history of the franchise, commemorating the Super Bowl championship won by the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010.
A pair of key contributors, two of the best players on that Saints team received their just due with induction into the Hall as former guard Carl Nicks and former linebacker Jonathan Vilma were all smiles in reminiscing about their unforgettable experiences in the black and gold.
Former Saints linebacker coach, assistant head coach and Interim head coach Joe Vitt was on hand to present Vilma and both Vilma and Nicks were quick to cite a line which Vitt used all the time, “we will walk together forever.”
Nicks originally questioned whether he even had to speak before waxing eloquently for over 10 minutes about his fabulous experience as part of a fabulous team as part of the best guard tandem in the NFL with Jahri Evans.
“I owe everything to Mr. (Tom) Benson, Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton for taking a chance on me,” Nicks said. “I was projected to be a first-round pick and slipped to the fifth round because of issues off the field. I had a lot to prove and they gave me the opportunity to do so. It was an honor to play for the teams I played on. We will walk together forever.”
Nicks chose former offensive line mate and current Saints tackle Zach Strief as his presenter.
Nicks played just four seasons (2008-2011) with the Saints but was named All-Pro in three of those seasons by different organizations while being elected to a pair of Pro Bowls as the Saints reached the playoffs three times in his tenure in New Orleans.
Vilma played seven seasons with the Saints (2008-2014) and was the defensive captain, leading the team in tackles three times while earning a pair of Pro Bowl honors. Vilma chose to recognize those who were integral in the successes of his life, brining up his parents and sister, Loomis and Sean Payton, along with Vitt and a host of former teammates, including Jonathan Casillas, Scott Fujita, Roman Harper, Thomas Morstead and Strief.
“These are the people that have shaped my life,” Vilma said. “They are the reason I stand here tonight. When I was traded to the Saints by the Jets, it was the best moment of my career. It was between the Saints and the 0-16 Lions. Thank God I went to the Saints. Coach Vitt always said we will walk together forever and we will.”
Romig received the Joe Gemelli Fleur de Lis award for his vast contributions to the betterment of the New Orleans Saints over an extended period of time.
Romig has served the Saints organization for over 40 years in various capacities. He currently serves as administrative director. Romig sold programs at Saints games, originally worked with the training staff, served as the director of data processing, helps handle travel, does advances helps coordinate appearances, works as a spotter in the public address announcing booth on game days, assists ownership when needed, serves on the board of directors of the Saints Hall of Fame and now serves as administrative director.
Romig choked back teams on several occasions.
“I came on as a part-time helper with trainer Dean Kleinschmidt and here we are 41 years later,” Romig said. “This has been a dream come true for me and our family. I love my job and will always do whatever I am asked to do. The Benson’s have jokingly called me the VP (Vice President) of everything. The Saints are such a big part of our family’s life.”
Romig joins his father, the late Jerry Romig, as a Gemelli award recipient. Jerry Romig served as public address announcer for nearly five decades and upon his passing in 2015, son Mark took over those duties while sister Mary Beth also works in the PA booth on Sundays.
Payton addressed the audience as well, calling Romig the most valuable employee in the building and calling the honors for Nicks and Vilma richly deserved. Payton added that the next decade will continue to see the floodgates open for players of his era (2006-present) who have been part of the greatest success of the organization getting inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame.
The event was attended by 32 other former New Orleans Saints players from around the country who are here for the Hall of Fame game Sunday against the Chicago Bears.
Nicks and Vilma are the 48th and 49th inductees into the Hall of Fame since its inception in 1988 while Romig is the 28th recipient of the Joe Gemelli Fleur de Lis award.
The trio walked on to the stage together and ultimately departed the stage together.
“The bond will always be there,” Nicks said. “We will always walk together forever.”
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE Owner and CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Football Foundation, College…