Evans, Harper headline Saints 2020 Hall of Fame Class
The media selection committee of the Saints Hall of Fame has selected guard Jahri Evans and safety Roman Harper for induction in 2020, while longtime New Orleans Saints Spanish radio broadcaster Marco Garcia has been chosen to receive the Joe Gemelli "Fleur de Lis" award for his vast contributions to the New Orleans Saints organization.
Evans, 6 feet 4, 318 pounds, is one of the most decorated offensive linemen in franchise history. He played 11 seasons with the Saints from 2006-16 after being drafted in the fourth round in 2006 out of Bloomsburg. Among his accolades were five consecutive selections to the Associated Press All-Pro teams, including four consecutive first-team honors from 2009-2012. Evans was also selected to six consecutive Pro Bowls from 2009-2014, was awarded the Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award in 2009 and 2011 along with the other members of the Saints' offensive line, and was a member of the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team. The Philadelphia, Pa., native started all 169 regular season games he appeared in and 10 postseason contests in a Black and Gold uniform, the 11th most in club record books. Evans was selected to the club's All-50th team in 2016.
Evans was active in the New Orleans and Philadelphia communities during his playing career. He and his offensive line teammates sponsored holiday bike giveaways in 2009 and 2010. He also participated with teammates in the 2013 United Way Hope for the Holidays campaign to raise money to construct and rehabilitate housing for those impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac. Evans has also annually held a youth football and cheerleading camp in his hometown since 2007.
Harper, 6-1, 205, was selected by New Orleans in the second round (43rd overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft out of Alabama. He played in 124 career games for the Saints from 2006-13 and in 2016 with 108 starts and recorded 775 tackles (548 solo), 17 sacks, seven interceptions, 53 passes defensed, 13 forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and 43 special teams stops. Harper also appeared in eight postseason contests with seven starts for the Black and Gold, posting 47 tackles (29 solo), 1.5 sacks, five passes defensed and two forced fumbles. Including two seasons in Carolina from 2014-15, Harper played in 156 games with 140 starts in his 11-season NFL career and posted career totals of 905 tackles, 18 sacks, 11 interceptions, 68 passes defensed, 13 forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. From 2006-16, no defensive back in the NFL had more sacks than Harper's 18 and no Saints defensive back has matched his 775 stops in a Black and Gold uniform. Harper was a two-time Pro Bowl selection in 2009 and 2010 and was selected to the Saints All-50th team in 2016.
During his time with the Saints, with the help of the United Way, Phoenix of New Orleans (PNOLA) and St. Bernard Project, Harper has 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. Through his Harper's Hope 41 Foundation, he has hosted a wide variety of community event programs, such as reading contests, entrepreneur workshops, after school youth activities, summer camps for kids and mentoring programs, Harper was selected as the team's nominee for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
Garcia is a native of Honduras, who began his broadcasting career announcing soccer matches in his native country. A New Orleans resident since 1975, he initially read Latin American soccer scores, called local amateur matches and hosted a Spanish language radio talk show. He then served as the voice of the Saints Spanish radio broadcast from 1996-2014 and from 2016-18, calling 191 regular season and postseason victories, known for his trademark touchdown call "Gooool-tooochdownn Santos. With over 20 years of experience in the booth, Garcia played an instrumental role in connecting the NFL and the Saints with the fast-growing Hispanic community in the New Orleans area, whose Hispanic population increased by nearly 80 percent since 2005.
Events surrounding the induction of Evans and Harper and the recognition of Garcia will take place on a weekend to be announced this season.