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New Orleans Saints Flashback: Kenny Duckett

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

 

Kenny Duckett was a receiver/kick returner for the New Orleans Saints for three full seasons, 1982-1984, and for a brief portion of the of the 1985 season.

A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Duckett played his college football in his home city, with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

In his four years at Wake Forest, Duckett caught 108 passes for 1,499 yards and 19 touchdowns, while returning 62 kick-offs for 1,251 yards and 27 punts for 212 yards.

In his junior year of 1980, Duckett compiled 50 receptions, which ranked second in the ACC, for 656 yards, which ranked third, and 12 touchdowns, a stat that not only led the league, but was third, nationally.

The Saints, who were looking for receiver help, selected Duckett in the third round of the 1982 NFL Draft, two rounds after taking Georgia wide out Lyndsay Scott with their first pick, and just two overall picks behind another receiver Eugene Goodlow, who they took with the 66th overall pick, with Duckett going with the 68th pick.

Duckett totaled 34 receptions in 36 games for the Saints, from the start of the 1982 season until his release, one game into the 1985 season. He finished his time with the Saints with 503 receiving yards, to go along with four touchdowns.

The 6-foot, 185-pounder was also used as a kick returner, with 64 kick-off returns for 1,338 yards.

Duckett’s best season with the Saints was 1983, when he had 19 catches for 283 yards and two touchdowns, along with 719 kick-off return yards.

After leaving the Saints, Duckett played three games for the Dallas Cowboys in 1985, before his NFL career came to an end.

That only tells half of the story however, as Duckett beat the odds by even making it to the NFL.

Diagnosed with diabetes in 10th grade, Duckett continued to play for his high school team, despite warnings from his doctors. He went on to set records at his high school, had a very successful college career at Wake Forest, and then had a three year-plus career in the NFL.

In 1993, Duckett began to suffer from kidney failure as a result of his diabetes. Five years later, in 1998, he passed away at the age of 38.

Duckett didn’t have a long NFL career, but his life, in which he accomplished so much, both on and off the football field, was cut unfairly short.

 

 

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