Marques Colston had an incredible rookie season for the New Orleans Saints in 2006, leading the club in receiving with 70 grabs for 1,038 yards and eight touchdowns, including an 86-yard reception.
“My only real goal during the offseason was to get bigger, faster, stronger,” said Colston, who joined the Saints as a seventh-round (252nd overall) pick.
But during the offseason, Colston also liked to talk about sports collectibles.
“Being a football fan since I was about 4 years old, now seeing me on football cards is crazy. It’s a great feeling to look down and see myself on a card, almost surreal,” said Colston, adding that he was a childhood football card collector.
But, he noted, he hasn’t seen his old cards since he was about 12 years old.
“They’re put away at my mom’s house. But back in the day, I tried to get every football card I could get my hands on,” he said.
Colston’s collection includes several Walter Payton cards, and also some Earl Campbell gems.
“I collected because, well, it was just fun. I’d rush to the store, grabbing as many packs as I had money for and opening them to see who I got,” Colston said.
However, he lost the collecting bug during his teen years when he focused more on academics and athletics. And he still hasn’t returned to collecting – yet.
“I wish I had the time to collect. Time is just a premium for me now,” he said. “I get to see some of my cards, maybe even all of them, and that’s fun.”
Speaking of other collectibles, at the end of the 2006 season, Colston was given one of his game-worn jerseys. He also has a signed, game-worn jersey from Joe Horn.
“That’s pretty special to me since he’s now with the (Atlanta) Falcons,” Colston said about the Horn jersey.
Colston said he never was hooked on autograph collecting, mostly because he’s never met too many superstar athletes or celebrities. But he loves signing.
“It’s my way of feeling like I’m making a positive impact, giving fans – especially young collectors – the opportunity to smile about something. I definitely take a lot of pride in signing autographs,” he said.
Colston said he has not yet received anything too crazy from autograph-seekers. However, Colston has received multiple invitations to birthday parties from strangers.
“That would actually be fun to go, if I had the time,” he said.
Colston said the one main autograph he’d like for his personal collection is Jerry Rice.
“I definitely wouldn’t mind having that John Hancock,” he said.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Colston attended Hofstra University, appearing in 40 games during his four seasons, starting 37 of them. He caught 182 passes for 2,834 yards and 22 TDs.
As a senior in 2005, Colston was an All-Atlantic 10 first-team selection after catching a career-high 70 passes for 975 yards and nine TDs.
“It was a great coming out season in 2006,” Colston said about his NFL debut. “I didn’t reach every single goal that I had set, but I definitely made a lot of progress. And it definitely is a good foundation to build on for 2007.”
In his NFL season debut, Colston led the Saints’ passing offense with 1,038 yards receiving, about 300 more yards than that of Devery Henderson, who had the second-most on the team.
“It was so great to feel such a positive vibe running through New Orleans,” Colston said. “The people of New Orleans have been through such difficult hardships, so giving them something positive to kind of look forward to every week, if only for three hours, to help take their mind away from everything they’re going through, that’s what we tried to do.”
New Orleans captured the NFC South division title with a 10-6 regular-season record. The Saints defeated Philadelphia 27-24 in the NFC divisional playoff game, but couldn’t contain the buzz saw that was the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game. The Bears trounced the Saints 39-14.
Although the Saints out-gained Chicago in total yards, 375-335, four turnovers (three fumbles and one interception) were too much for them to overcome.
“That (Bears playoff) game will be etched in my mind for a while,” Colston said. “It was a tough game, a tough loss. But it was great to play in that game nonetheless, in that atmosphere in that big of a game that early in my career. Sure, the outcome definitely wasn’t what we expected or wanted, but it was a great learning experience.”
So what about the 2007 season?
“I had such a successful 2006 season, so I kind of want to build on it. But also at the same time, you want to start from scratch. So I have to walk a fine line,” Colston said.