Saturday's NFL Divisional Round Playoff game between the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks feature two NFL franchises with strong connections to Cougar Football.
Those at CenturyLink Field and watching on TV will see Saints fullback Jed Collins (pictured above), who played for the Cougars from 2004 to 2007.
Seahawks owner Paul Allen is a WSU alumnus. The Center for Global Animal Health on the WSU Pullman campus is named in his honor.
Rueben Mayes (pictured with WSU and the Saints), a member of the WSU Athletic and College Football Hall of Fames, played for both the Saints and Seahawks. A third round draft pick by the Saints in 1986, Mayes earned NFL offensive rookie of the year honors that season. He played for the Saints until 1991 and culminated his career with the Seahawks.
Another WSU Athletic Hall of Fame member, Dan Doornink (pictued below), played for WSU from 1974-77. After a season with the New York Giants, Doornink joined the Seahawks in 1979 and played there until the end of his career in 1985.
The Saints and Seahawks have each selected a Cougar as a first round selection. The Saints drafted linebacker Mark Fields as the 13th overall selection in the 1995 NFL Draft. In 2003, cornerback Marcus Trufant was drafted by the Seahawks, also as the 13th overall selection.
Cougars everywhere undoubtably know the story of Steve Gleason, linebacker for the Cougars from 1996 to 1999. Gleason played for the Saints from 2000 to 2007, and his playing days are remembered for the iconic blocked punt against the Falcons, Sept, 25, 2006, during the first game at the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina.
Today, Gleason is an inspiration to millions as he battles ALS. For more information on Team Gleason, which Steve and his friends and family started to generate public awareness for ALS, raise funding to empower those with ALS to live a rewarding life, and ultimately find a cure, visit teamgleason.org.
In November 2011, Gleason visited WSU (pictured) and attending the Cougars Dad's Weekend game vs. Arizona State. Read about Gleason's inspiring message to the team that morning, which help propel the Cougars to victory.
Below is a list of Cougars who have played for the Saints and Seahawks.
Saints and Seahawks
Rueben Mayes (WSU 1983-85, RB; Saints 1986-91; Seahawks 1992-93)
Jed Collins (WSU 2004-07, TE; Saints 2011-present, FB)
Jason David (WSU 2000-03, DB; Saints 2007-08)
Mark Fields (WSU 1992, 94; LB; Saints 1995-2000)
Eric Frampton (WSU 2003-06, CB; Saints 2013)
Steve Gleason (WSU 1996-99, LB; Saints 2000-07)
Curtis Holden (WSU 1999, LB; Saints 2001-03)
Chris Ivory (WSU 2006-08, RB; Saints 2010-12)
Gary Lewis (WSU 1960-61, RB; Saints 1970)
Scott Pelluer (WSU 1977-80, LB; Saints 1981-85)
Timm Rosenbach (WSU 1987-88, QB; Saints 1995)
Scott Sanderson (WSU 1993-96, OT; Saints 2001-02)
Paul Allen - Seahawks owner, WSU alumnus
Steve Broussard (WSU 1987-89, RB; Seahawks 1995-98)
Michael Bumpus (WSU 2004-07, WR; Seahawks 2008)
Dan Doornink (WSU 1974-77, FB, Athletic Hall of Fame; Seahawks 1979-85)
Chad Eaton (WSU 1992-94, DT; Seahawks 2002-03)
Duke Fergerson (WSU 1974, WR; Seahawks 1977-79)
Brian Flones (WSU 1978-80, NG; Seahawks 1981-82)
Joey Hollenbeck (WSU 1998-2001, OL; Seahawks 2005)
Rian Lindell (WSU 1997-99, K; Seahawks 2000-02)
Jason McEndoo (WSU 1994-97, OG; Seahawks 1998)
Keith Millard (WSU 1981-83, DT; Seahawks 1992)
Geoff Reece (WSU 1972-74, C; Seahawks 1977)
Rico Tipton (WSU 1981, 83-84, LB; Seahawks 1987)
Robbie Tobeck (WSU 1991-92, OG/C; Seahawks 2000-06)
Marcus Trufant (WSU 1999-2002, CB; Seahawks 2003-12)
Brian Walker (WSU 1994-95, DB; Seahawks 1999)
Jason Krump, WSU Athletics