METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Marques Colston never goes out of his way to be noticed.
He became the New Orleans Saints' all-time leader in touchdowns scored this season with 56, yet does not have a touchdown dance. He seldom appears in commercials, and is often hard to find when the locker room at team headquarters is open to reporters.
At Dallas last Sunday, Colston's 10 catches for 153 yards put him over the 1,000-yard mark for the sixth time in his seven seasons. Yet he has never been to a Pro Bowl, which disappoints teammates such as quarterback Drew Brees.
"He is Mr. Dependable, Mr. Steady. When you need a play, I know I can always count on him," Brees said Wednesday. "He's a quiet guy, but when he comes to work, he's ready to work."
Brees said he loves Colston the way he is and would not want him to change, but figures the slender, 6-foot-4 receiver's introverted nature probably works against him when it comes to getting the recognition he deserves.
"How do guys get noticed for the (Pro Bowl's) fan vote and for everything else?" Brees asked rhetorically. "If you're not saying something that's getting you on TV or what have you, then a lot of times people don't notice you if you keep the helmet on and just work. You don't have a touchdown dance, but there's no guy that's been steadier than him at the receiver position."
The only season in which Colston compiled fewer than 1,000 yards receiving was 2008, when a hand injury limited him to 11 games and he finished with 760.
Since Colston entered the league as a seventh-round draft choice out of Hofstra in 2006, only three players in the NFL have caught more touchdown passes. Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald has the most at 59, just three more than Colston, while San Francisco's Randy Moss has 58 and San Diego's Antonio Gates has 57.
In addition to Colston's numbers, the Saints talk about his toughness — the way he makes difficult catches in traffic over the middle, routinely absorbing big hits. Colston owns an oxygen-rich hyperbaric chamber, and often sleeps in it during the season in hopes of hastening his recovery from injuries or the general pounding he takes.
"No matter how battered or bruised he is, he's in practice," Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt said. "He doesn't take time off. He doesn't miss games. All he does is he takes it to heart the accountability he has to his teammates and he takes it to heart the accountability he has to this game, and he's special."
Colston was not available for comment Wednesday when Pro Bowl rosters were released.
When he did speak to reporters after last Sunday's victory at Dallas, he talked not about his pivotal role in the win, but berated himself for a dropped pass and a fumble in overtime, even though the play on which he lost the ball still set up the Saints' winning field goal after tight end Jimmy Graham recovered it.
"Even with the win, it's personally going to leave a sour taste in my mouth because I can't do that," Colston said. "It's one of those things where I know that can't happen. It's been an issue where I've had a couple this year. It just doesn't sit well with me."
Such a reaction was classic Colston, Brees said.
"That's what I love about him. He had 10 (catches) for (more than) 150 (yards) and he's mad about one drop and a fumble," Brees said. "That's where his head's at. He's such a prideful guy. He wants people to be able to count on him.
"You love having guys like that because you don't have to police them. They police themselves."
Colston has never been one to complain about not getting the ball enough or not getting paid enough. In fact, he could have tested the open market last winter, but instead chose to sign a five-year extension worth about $36 million before free agency even started.
That should keep Colston around long enough to break Eric Martin's all-time Saints marks for catches and yards receiving. Colston is second all-time with 527 receptions and 7,342 yards, putting him five catches and 512 yards behind Martin in both categories.
Carolina coach Ron Rivera, whose team visits New Orleans this Sunday, said players of Colston's caliber deserve better than to have their legacies defined by Pro Bowl appearances.
"The thing about the Pro Bowl is ... it's not necessarily about who the best player is," Rivera said. "We're talking about a guy that was on a Super Bowl championship team, too, now. So you'd like to think that somewhere along the line he'd be recognized for what he does."
Notes: Two Saints were selected for the Pro Bowl: RG Jahri Evans and P Thomas Morstead. ... FB Jed Collins, DT Akiem Hicks and RB Pierre Thomas missed Wednesday's practice with various knee injuries, while CB Jabari Greer sat out because of his concussion from Sunday's game at Dallas. ... Chris Ivory (hamstring) and TE Jimmy Graham (left wrist, right ring finger) were limited in practice.
MAY 17 Here's a column from James Gill, this time in the Advocate. Gill, who has jumped ship from the Picayune, writes about the absurdity of dueling polls in this post. The numbers are so wildly different, it is obvious that both sides are "cooking the books," he writes. In particular, he looks at Sen. Mary Landrieu, and how her recent actions in DC have been received by those polled. Gill's acerbic, amusing prose is a welcome addition to a paper so conservative as to be occasionally lacking in personality.
MAY 17 Blogger Tom Aswell continues delivering bombshells about the state education department and Gov. Jindal's education "reform" efforts. In this post, he reports that students in the Shreveport area have been signed up for a charter school without their knowledge or consent. Most interesting to Aswell is how this Texas-based charter (with ties to GOP types) got the personal student information it has, if the students didn't give it.
MAY 17 This post by JR Ball in the Baton Rouge Business Report is an interesting tongue-in-cheek look at recent Baton Rouge economic development efforts. Among the items he examines is the idea that gaining a Costco makes BR a "world-class city." (Really? All you need is a different brand of Sam's? MK!) This effort, and other recent ones, are all built on the taxpayer's back, with tax zones, tax incentives and tax rebates, Ball writes.
MAY 17 Blogger CB Forgotston is critical of the legislature's reliance on a revenue-estimating committee's decision to include projected tax amnesty income in this year's forecast. That's a problem, CB posts, because the deadline for these people to pay their taxes is June 30, 2014. So when do you think these people who haven't paid taxes in years are going to pay their taxes? Surely not before June 30, and that means the money won't be there for this year's budget, he argues.
MAY 17 Here's an interesting blog out of California by a Hollywood writer, attorney and academic named Brian Alan Lane. He blogs about higher ed, and was a whistle-blower in a scandal over false credentials. In this post, he takes aim at LSU's new top dog, King Alexander. It's convoluted and a little confusing, but it sure makes Alexander a lot more interesting than he was yesterday.
MAY 17 Blogger Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board's refusal to allow Dr. Fred Cerise to testify before the legislature about Gov. Jindal's plan to close down all the state's charity hospitals and dump the poor on the private system. It's hard to imagine anyone more qualified than Cerise to testify about that, so why would anyone try to prevent him doing so? Mann thinks it is because the powers that be aren't interested in hearing any truth about the plan.
MAY 17 This post on the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle, a blog that notes developments in the Bayou Corne and Jefferson Island salt domes, talks about a proposed expansion of the salt dome storage under Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish. Residents are working against it for several reasons, including two biggies: the sinkhole disaster in Bayou Corne and the continuing, unexplained bubbling on the surface of the Lake.
MAY 17 NOLA police arrested more people Thursday accused of either being involved in the Mother's Day shooting or hiding the suspect afterward, this Gambit story reports. The NOLA police chief said he suspects the whole thing was gang-related and throws out a challenge to the gangs: he's got informants now, he says, and he knows a lot more than the gangs want him to know. The people who live in the neighborhoods terrorized by gangs are ready to talk, he says.
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Dr. Joshua Caffery, chair of the school’s English Department, is headed to Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress as the latest winner of the Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies.