Who has played the most games wearing a New Orleans Saints jersey?
Drew Brees, of course. The Hall of Fame-bound quarterback has taken the field 221 times in black and gold, and counting. He’s both the all-time leader and actively extending his lead, having passed legendary pass rusher Rickey Jackson (195) to claim that team record. You can find the full list at Pro Football Reference, sorted by games played (descending).
But they aren’t alone at the top. Saints punter Thomas Morstead is steadily climbing higher week by week, with 179 games behind him. Four more and he’ll tie the great Jim Wilks for the fifth-most games played for New Orleans. If he sees the 2020 season to its conclusion, Morstead will finish the year with 190 games played — trailing only Brees and Jackson, having passed up Wilks (183), Stan Brock (186), and Frank Warren (189).
Cameron Jordan is another name to watch. The defensive end is on his way to joining Brees and Morstead near the top, though he’s currently tied 1980’s cornerback Dave Waymer at 149 games. Jordan quietly surpassed the always-underrated Marques Colston (146) earlier this year. If he plays in every game this year, he’ll overtake Waymer, Jim Dombrowski (151), and Zach Strief (158).
Jordan is making headway in another category, too: all-time sacks. Jackson owns that record (115) but Jordan is gaining on him with 88.5 sacks so far. With teammates Trey Hendrickson and Marcus Davenport demanding attention opposite him, Jordan’s production should continue to tick up after he bagged just 1.5 sacks in his first five games.
But those three players are on an island. Brees, Morstead, and Jordan are the only active members of the team to play more than 112 games (the equivalent of seven full seasons) in New Orleans, though tight end Josh Hill is close. He’s their only teammate with 100-plus Saints games to his credit, having tied kicker John Carney and running back Dalton Hilliard with 108 games so far. Former Saints running back Mark Ingram appeared in 106 games before signing with the Baltimore Ravens in free agency last year.
You have to dig deep to find the next-most active players. Left tackle Terron Armstead has played 80 games for the Saints (passing up Jimmy Graham’s 78 games). Defensive backs Patrick Robinson (78) and Malcolm Jenkins (77) are close despite having spent years away from the team. Kicker Wil Lutz and guard Andrus Peat have both played 69 games.
Linebacker Craig Robertson (67) and wide receiver Michael Thomas (64) are the only active Saints to appear in 60-plus games, while Sheldon Rankins (56), Ryan Ramczyk (52), P.J. Williams and Marcus Williams (51 each), and Alvin Kamara (50) can each join them by finishing out this season. None of their teammates have played 50 or more games in black and gold.
It says a lot about the makeup of this team. There aren’t many long-timers around outside the trio of Brees, Morstead, and Jordan, and Brees and Morstead are probably on their way out the door in the next year or two. That would leave Jordan as the elder statesmen of the team, with veterans like Hill, Armstead, and Jenkins around to show the youngsters the ropes.
And it falls on keystone players such as Kamara, Thomas, and Ramczyk to keep the offense going once Brees isn’t under center anymore. They’ll be critical pieces to the engine that keeps things moving for years to come. And maybe someday they’ll start to climb high in these all-time rankings themselves.