The New Orleans Saints organization is in mourning after one of its greats passed away this week. Derland Moore, one of the best players to ever suit up for the team, died at the age of 68 after a longstanding illness. Moore, a defensive lineman, was a second-round pick of the Saints in 1973 and earned a Pro Bowl nod there before spending one year with the New York Jets, which also turned out to be his final year in the league. He'd retire after the 1986 season, and has since been immortalized via induction into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame as well as the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
The native of Malden, Missouri made his way to the NFL ranks by way of the University of Oklahoma, but it wasn't his first choice. He initially sought to play for the University of Missouri, but they stiff-armed him -- so to speak -- and that became more fuel for his fire when he eventually became a Sooner.
"At the University of Missouri, I asked them if I could walk on," Moore once explained of the incident, via the Saints website. "They told me it would be a waste of my time and theirs too. So, we played the University of Missouri every year and I made sure that they paid a price. They got the 120 percent game.
"I got a game ball every year we played against Missouri. Dan Devine was the head coach at the University of Missouri. It was my sophomore year and I nailed one of the running backs. He went flying underneath their bench.
"It was on their side of the field and the game was played in Oklahoma. So, I got up and there's Dan Devine right there and I said, 'Hey Coach Devine, Derland Moore. Remember? I wasn't good enough to play for you.' Then I was jogging on the field and I heard his voice, 'Would you allow me to reconsider?'"
From there, Moore built a career in the NFL good enough for not simply the aforementioned Saints Hall of Fame. He was also named as one of the team's top 50 players of all-time, and to the club's 40th and 50th anniversary team.
"It was damn nice to be selected on the 50th team in New Orleans as the best of the best," Moore said of the honor. "That was a damn nice feeling. There are some good guys involved in that. John Hill was part of that.
"John passed away a year ago. John and I actually lived together for three years, so we were close friends. To be a part of it with him and Archie Manning, Stan Brock, Tommy Myers, Rickey Jackson and the rest of those guys was special."
So was Moore, and that's why he'll never be forgotten.