Shaun Rogers was selected by the Lions in 2001 (Matt Millen’s first draft) and left for Cleveland in 2008, which means that in his first 10 seasons in the NFL, he never even played on a .500 team, let alone a winner. That’s changing now in his 11th season, which is his first with the Saints.
As Rogers prepares to see his first team when the Lions play the Saints tonight, he says it’s a pleasure to be in a playoff race, something he didn’t experience in his first decade of professional football.
“It’s a blessing,” Rogers told the New Orleans Times Picayune. “I’ve been preparing to go home a lot in late November and early December so this is a nice change.”
Rogers was a Pro Bowler with both the Lions and the Browns, although he was usually overlooked in discussions about the best defensive tackles in football, because his teams were usually so bad that they were easy to be overlooked. In New Orleans he’s not a starter, but he does play an important role in the defensive line rotation, and his presence in the middle of the line was huge when the Saints stopped a Falcons fourth-and-1 run in overtime, in the play that could end up being the difference for the Saints in the NFC South race this year.
For Rogers, playing for the Saints feels different than what he’s experienced in the past.
“It’s a different experience,” he said. “It’s a whole different aura, different attitude and culture.”
If the Saints beat the Lions tonight, it will be New Orleans’ ninth win of the season. Guaranteeing that Rogers is finally on a winning team.