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News » N.O.'s wild about Deuce, and rightfully so


N.O.'s wild about Deuce, and rightfully so


N.O.'s wild about Deuce, and rightfully so
In the interest of full disclosure, attached is the following disclaimer: Bias resides here. There hasn't been a time when the thinking hasn't been complimentary of Deuce McAllister.


From the second he joined the Saints as a first-round pick in 2001 to today, from the time he owned sprinters' speed to the three-serious-knee-surgery, between-the-tackles runner he has become, from the 1,000-yard seasons to a role reduction so significant that at times you almost need a magnifying glass to see it, from the Pro Bowl invitations to a possible suspension.

Actually, with the suspension overhanging, he arguably has been most impressive.

The guess here is a few athletes in McAllister's cleats would've passed on Tuesday. It was the Saints' day off, and he could've used the rest. The possible suspension for using a banned diuretic still very much is in play; no ruling has been made, but after having his motive questioned and reputation tarnished -- however much -- because of the disclosure, public appearances understandably might not have been high on the list of priorities.

But there was McAllister in Chalmette on Tuesday, linking arms with Winn-Dixie and Coca-Cola to provide turkey dinners to 100 needy families in the New Orleans area.

There was McAllister on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after he scored the 54th touchdown of a Saints Hall of Fame career to become the leading touchdown scorer in franchise history.

There was McAllister on Tuesday, for the sixth consecutive year, reliable as ever, good as his word.

DeuceGiving, is what it's called.

Yes, he was. Again.

"Just trying to give back, just trying to help out," McAllister said matter-of-factly, after helping dispense food to 100 families and sign autographs for probably all of the estimated 250 to 300 fans who showed up solely for that purpose.

"Regardless of how sore you are, that's what you do," he said. "If you can walk, you can be able to do it and be able to sign some autographs."

By doing so, maybe the beneficiaries also could walk a little taller today, their struggles eased at least for this one day.

"For somebody with that status, that could have spent his time doing something else, to give up his time was phenomenal," said Tina West, a married mother of two whose family was pre-selected to be a recipient from a group of names submitted by four nonprofit organizations. "Things are tight right now, so every little bit helps -- and to see somebody who has everything in the world take time out . . .

"He made it really special. He chose to do this for children who probably wouldn't have been able to have much of a Thanksgiving. He didn't have to do that."

No, he didn't. But he does, like clockwork, in good times and bad, whether he's having a career year or on pace to run for about half as many yards as he ever has in a year when he has played at least 10 games, whether the waters are calm and he's waiting for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to do the unexpected and not suspend him, or for Goodell to end his season and, possibly, his career with the Saints.

"I can't let that bother me; I can't let that worry me," McAllister said. "I have a commitment I made."

Said fullback Mike Karney, who likely is closer to McAllister than any teammate: "He's a pro's pro. That's why he's the best. He'll be the best to ever wear a Saints uniform, in my opinion. I look up to (the way he has handled the adversity). I always will. The fans look up to that. They see it.

"Why do you think they go crazy for him all the time when he's out there on third-and-1 and short-yardage and goal line? They love him. Why wouldn't you love him?"

Now, obviously, McAllister wasn't the only pro athlete this week lending time and presence. Other Saints players did the same. Across the nation the blessed shared with the less fortunate, the former knowing that but for a few twists and turns in life, they could be categorized as the latter.

But not all of them have the cloud hanging over them that McAllister has. Not all had as much of a reason to stay out of the spotlight.

But McAllister, who believes he and teammates Will Smith and Charles Grant have mounted a successful appeal, isn't done. On Monday, Tuesday and Thursday -- he'll participate in Deuce's Holiday Shopping Adventure, in which 170 pre-selected kids in three cities will receive $100 shopping sprees, the caveat being they have to buy gifts for family members, to teach them about giving during the holidays.

"But we've always said that we wouldn't turn a child away (if he showed up and wasn't pre-selected)," McAllister said.

That could get a tad expensive, but, true to his word, you know he wouldn't turn away anyone.

The disclaimer has been attached. Bias resides here.

No shame in giving thanks for the givers on Thanksgiving. With Deuce, no shame in that any day.

. . . . . . .

John DeShazier can be reached at jdeshazier@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3410.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 27, 2008

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Reagan Mauia Name: Reagan Mauia
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