Former Saints kicker Morten Andersen a Hall of Fame finalist yet again _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Kevin Naquin, center, shakes hands with the NFL's all-time leading scorer, former kicker Morten Andersen, before Andersen is honored at halftime in the New Orleans Saints Ring of Honor in the Superdome in a game against the Detroit Lions in New Orleans, La. Monday, Dec. 21, 2015.

Former Saints kicker Morten Andersen is one of 15 finalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Thursday night, ensuring that Andersen’s case will be discussed by the Hall of Fame committee the day before Super Bowl 50.

Andersen, one of the most prolific kickers in pro football history, is a finalist for the third straight year.

A fourth-round pick in 1982, Andersen spent the first 13 years of his career in New Orleans before bouncing around with the Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings, eventually playing in 25 seasons in the NFL.

By the time Andersen retired, the Great Dane held NFL records for games (382), field goals (565) and points (2,544). Named All-Pro four times, Andersen made six Pro Bowls as a Saint and was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor this season.

In addition to Andersen, another former NFL star with Saints ties, the late Kenny Stabler, is up for induction as a senior finalist for the Hall of Fame. Stabler died in July at 69 of colon cancer. Stabler threw for 3,670 yards, 17 touchdowns and 33 interceptions in three seasons with the Saints from 1982-84, two spent as the team’s primary starter.

But the man nicknamed “The Snake” was most famous for his days in Oakland. Taken out of Alabama in the second round of the 1968 draft, Stabler made the Pro Bowl three times with the Raiders, earned NFL Player of the Year honors in 1976 and led Oakland to a 32-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI.

Andersen and Stabler’s cases will be brought before the Hall of Fame committee, and current rules mandate the committee select between four and eight members each year. 2015 may be a wide-open year, as only Brett Favre seems like a sure bet to be inducted on his first try.

Staff changes

Wesley McGriff, who spent the past three seasons with the Saints as a secondary coach, is leaving to become the co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Auburn.

“I’m really excited to be working with Coach (Gus) Malzahn and his staff at Auburn,” McGriff said in a statement released by Auburn. “I’ve always had a high regard for Auburn and the football program and I’m looking forward to helping them win championships.”

Despite McGriff’s experience with the Saints, the bulk of his career has come at the collegiate level, and he nearly left New Orleans to become Vanderbilt’s defensive coordinator last season.

McGriff also worked at Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Miami, Baylor and Kentucky, among others.

For New Orleans, McGriff is the second assistant coach to leave so far. Quarterbacks coach Mike Neu was announced as the new head coach at Ball State on Thursday.

Future prospect

The Saints signed wide receiver Shane Wynn to a reserve/future contract, locking up the practice-squad participant through the offseason.

Wynn, a 5-foot-6, 167-pounder who played at Indiana, is a burner who spent the final weeks of the season on the New Orleans practice squad.

Originally signed by Atlanta as an undrafted free agent, Wynn spent training camp with Cleveland, then got practice-squad cameos with San Diego and the New York Jets before landing in New Orleans.