Marques Colston isn’t the type to talk about himself.
Not at all.
The veteran wide receiver would rather talk about the rest of his team. In the locker room after New Orleans sealed a 24-17 win over Tampa Bay, a reporter asked Colston what his two touchdown catches meant to him after doing so much dirty work over the middle this season. Colston responded by talking about what those touchdowns meant to his team.
“It just meant points for our offense,” Colston said. “Really, it’s just putting points on the board for the team.”
Colston responded the same way when asked about the milestone he reached with Saints quarterback Drew Brees on Sunday. Colston’s touchdown catches, a leaping grab in the back of the end zone and a wide-open out route at the goal line, were the 70th and 71st touchdowns of his career, placing him and Brees in rarefied air. Only four other combos — Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison, Steve Young and Jerry Rice, Dan Marino and Mark Clayton, Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates — have combined for more than 70 touchdowns.
But Colston put the touchdowns only in context of the team.
His teammates did the speaking for him.
“He’s one of the most unselfish players I’ve ever played with, one of the greatest teammates I’ve ever had, one of the most dependable, reliable people I’ve ever played with,” Brees said. “I consider myself lucky to have had, so far, 10 years with him.”
Colston’s role has been a little different this season. With the continued growth of Brandin Cooks and the breakout emergence of Willie Snead, Colston has served as the Saints’ No. 3 receiver, playing 54.9 percent of the snaps and operating mostly over the middle.
“His role was crystal clear going in,” Saints coach Sean Payton said.
Colston has handled it well. Asked to go over the middle and often make tight catches in traffic — and absorb the hits that come with that kind of work — Colston has reeled in 43 passes for 481 yards and three touchdowns.
New Orleans has responded by helping Colston stay fresh. In addition to the snap count, Colston has routinely taken veterans’ days on Wednesdays, skipping practices in an effort to help his body recover.
And other than a separated shoulder that kept him out against Atlanta, Colston has been able to answer the bell.
“Colston is Colston,” veteran free safety Jairus Byrd said. “He hasn’t changed, he is still reliable and clutch. He just does what he does. Obviously, we have weapons so the ball might go different places, but Colston is Colston. There is nothing that is falling off on him or that is different that is signaling change.”
Drops were a problem at times early in the season, but Colston has come on, providing a steady presence for a young receiving corps that has been overhauled in the past couple of seasons.
Amid all that change, Colston remains the same.
“He has optimized consistency,” Payton said. “He has always been very reliable, he has strong hands in traffic, and you know exactly what you are getting in regards to his location, catching radius. ... There are so many things he has been consistent with over his career.”
Even if he’s not the type to talk about it.