Bob Newland, a wide receiver who played for the Saints in the 1970s, has died at the age of 72.
Newland was born and raised in Oregon and played his college football for the Oregon Ducks, and in 1970 he was voted Most Valuable Player on a Ducks team that also had future NFL stars Dan Fouts and Ahmad Rashad.
In 1971 the Saints chose Newland in the seventh round of the NFL draft, and he played every game for them for four years, catching 124 passes for 1,877 yards and eight touchdowns before retiring after the 1974 season, saying a bad knee prevented him from continuing to play. He later sued the Saints over the knee injury; that suit settled out of court.
The news of Newland’s death was taken hard by some of his former teammates.
“It just hurts me in my heart,” Rashad told the Register-Guard. “What a wonderful man he was, great guy. One of the nicest people I’ve met in my whole life. . . . The day I first met Bob, he was one of my best friends right off the bat. All the conversations we had over the years always centered around our friendship and took us back to those college days.”
Said former Saints quarterback Archie Manning, “We were in the same draft class. He played a lot for us in the first few years. He was a really good person. His father was a track coach in Oregon. He was a good friend whom I stayed in touch with through the years. It was a pleasure to know Bob and play with him. He was my friend.”