Deuce McAllister was one of the most dominating rushers when he entered the league and though he had a short career is still the all-time leading rusher for the New Orleans Saints. McAllister had a unique blend of speed, power and elusiveness that made him a great running back. McAllister had his career cut short by 2 ACL injuries; otherwise he might have gone down as one of the best running backs in his era and would have been in the talk of the best running backs of all time.
When McAllister joined the Saints as a first round pick in 2001 NFL draft he found himself behind Ricky Williams, whom the Saints traded away an entire draft to acquire. In his first season, McAllister only had 16 carries, but had one go for 54 yards, which showed his big, play ability. He also added 15 receptions and scored 2 TD in his first year playing behind Williams. The next season, though, he would be the bell cow for Saints and showed he was ready for the spotlight.
In his second season McAllister would carry the ball 325 times for 1,388 yards and added 47 receptions for another 352 yards and scored 16 total TD. McAllister showed his big play ability and hard nosed running up the middle with elusiveness on his way to becoming a fan favorite in New Orleans, but this season was just a precursor for what was to come. The next season McAllister would enjoy his best season as a professional and was a fantasy stud that caught everyone’s attention.
McAllister started all 16 games in 2003 and once again carried the load with 351 carries for an impressive 1,641 yards and 8 rushing TD. McAllister also added 69 receptions for 516 yards for a total of 2,157 yards from scrimmage. McAllister saw his TD total drop, but he was a beast this season with an impressive yards per carry average of 4.7. Unfortunately, the team was unable to take advantage of his great play and finished with an 8-8 record. McAllister was showing that he was an all around player who had the tools to dominate at the running back position. The problem for McAllister, and other running backs in his era like him, was that the amount of carries he had over those first 2 seasons as a starter began to take their toll on him and this showed over the next 2 seasons.
In 2004 McAllister began to show the effects of all those carries and was unable to duplicate the durability he showed in the previous 2 seasons. McAllister only had 269 carries in 2004 and finished with only 1,074 rushing yards and added 34 receptions for 228 yards with 9 total TD. Even with the lowered totals, McAllister went on to become the first Saint’s running back in their history to have 3 straight 1,000 yard rushing seasons. McAllister was looking for a bounce back season in 2005, but his hopes were crushed early.
McAllister was only able to play in 5 games in the 2005 season before tearing his ACL in his right knee. Before the injury occurred McAllister was not having a good season with only 335 yards rushing in those 5 games and 117 receiving yards with 3 TD. McAllister also saw his yards per carry drop to the lowest level in his career with a 3.6 YPC average. The big play was missing from his game as his longest run went for only 26 yards during this injury-shortened season.
When McAllister returned the next season he found himself in tough spot due to the fact the Organization made Reggie Bush their first round draft pick in the 2006 NFL draft. McAllister now had heavy competition from a Heisman Trophy winner with big play ability. McAllister would retain the starting job, even with the arrival of Bush, and had a decent season, but not a great season. McAllister would once again reach the 1,000-yard mark rushing with 1,057 yards on 244 carries and scored 10 rushing TD. The arrival of Bush, though, ate into his receiving production as he only had 30 receptions for 198 yards on the season. McAllister and Bush looked like they could be a good combination of power and speed, until early in the 2007 season.
In 2007 McAllister saw his career come to a screeching halt. It was the third game of the season against the Tennessee Titans and McAllister would end up tearing the ACL in his left knee. He was placed on injured reserve and would make one last run at the NFL the next season before hanging up his cleats forever. In his return in 2008 he was no longer the starter and only carried the ball 107 times and had a 3.9 yards per carry average. McAllister clearly lost a step and he ended up taking the 2009 season off and was resigned by the Saints in 2010, before their Divisional Playoff Game, and he McAllister was named the honorary Captain for the game, although he would never carry the ball in the NFL again.
McAllister finished his short career as the all-time leading rusher in Saints history with 6,096 yards rushing and his 55 TD were the best in team history until Marques Colston passed him recently, but he is still 2nd in team history for TD scored. McAllister also set a team record with twenty-two 100-yard rushing games in his career.
McAllister had a fantastic career and unfortunately it was cut short and we did not get to see the full impact he could have had on the running back position and the NFL. As it stands he remains one of the greatest players in Saint’s history and for those of us who were lucky enough to watch him play could see that he was a dominating force with a great combination of speed, power and elusiveness.
Career Stats more
Season Team Rushing Receiving Fumbles
G GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD FUM Lost
2008 New Orleans Saints
13 6 107 418 3.9 19 5 18 128 7.1 20 1 -- --
2007 New Orleans Saints
3 3 24 92 3.8 15 0 4 15 3.8 7 0 1 1
2006 New Orleans Saints
15 13 244 1,057 4.3 57 10 30 198 6.6 24 0 3 1
2005 New Orleans Saints
5 5 93 335 3.6 26 3 17 117 6.9 22 0 -- --
2004 New Orleans Saints
14 14 269 1,074 4.0 71 9 34 228 6.7 20 0 5 4
2003 New Orleans Saints
16 16 351 1,641 4.7 76T 8 69 516 7.5 39 0 6 4
2002 New Orleans Saints
15 15 325 1,388 4.3 62 13 47 352 7.5 30 3 4 3
2001 New Orleans Saints
16 4 16 91 5.7 54T 1 15 166 11.1 22T 1 1 0
TOTAL 1,429 6,096 4.3 76 49 234 1,720 7.4 39 5 20 13