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Saints Release Two Popular Vets – Lewis and Whitehead

Two popular vetern players have been released by the Saints, wide receiver and kick returner Michael Lewis and defensive end Willie Whitehead.  Lewis was the return specialist of the team, making the team at 29-years-old after drving a beer truck.  He was known as “Beer Man” by his teammates due to his prior job.

Team owner Tom Benson released a statement about the release of the popular Lewis.  “Michael is part of the fabric of our community and will always have a special place in the history of our club,” Benson said in a news release. “The way he made our team, as a player who worked hard, wasn’t drafted, supported his family and followed his dream, is unique and something we’re all proud to be a part of.”

Lewis leaves the team as the club’s all-time leader in kickoff returns (243 for 5,903 yards) and punt returns (142 for 1,482 yards). He has four touchdown returns — three on kickoffs and one punt return. “Michael is a New Orleans native and deservedly has a special place in the hearts of our fans,” GM Mickey Loomis said.

The other player released was defensive end Whitehead, who also was an undrafted free agent that made the team based on hard work back in 1999.  “Willie had been with our team longer than any other current player. This is a situation where we had to make a decision on what made the most sense for our club, and it also gives Michael and Willie a chance to explore their opportunities before training camps open around the league,” Loomis said.

He had 266 tackles (168 solo), 24.5 sacks, a pair of forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in his career. In 2004, he was voted by his teammates the winner of the Ed Block Courage Award, an honor bestowed on a player who best exemplifies the principles of sportsmanship and courage.

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