Deuce was on the loose again Saturday night.
Instead of his No. 26 Saints jersey, Dulymus “Deuce” McAllister was in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome wearing a suit a tie.
Instead of the power that he used to bulldoze his way to becoming the Saints’ all-time career rushing leader, he had to rely on his speed.
McAllister had to scurry from the Dome, where he was being inducted into the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame, to attend a wedding on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Karla Lopez, with McAllister’s Catch 22 Foundation, accepted the award on his behalf.
But it’s not like these Hall of Fame things are anything new to one of the most beloved players in Saints history.
“You’re trying to make me feel old,” McAllister said before the ceremony when asked how many hall of fames he is now in.
For those keeping score, Saturday night’s induction was No. 6.
He is also in the Saints Hall of Fame, as well as the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Hall of Fame.
He’s in the M-Club, the hall of fame for athletes at his alma mater, Ole Miss.
And of course he is in the Scott County Hall of Fame, about four hours from the Dome near his hometown of Ludlow, Miss.
But this latest induction was special because it was for his accomplishments in his second home.
“New Orleans is an adopted home for me,” McAllister said. “Not only for me, but my family. I’m raising my kids here, and the people here have really accepted us.”
But McAllister was quick to point out that the induction wasn’t all about him.
He credited guys like former Saints fullbacks Terelle Smith, Moran Norris and Mike Karney.
“Those guys made my job easier,” McAllister said. “The award says my name, but it’s really the guys I played with for those eight years.”
They helped Deuce become the leading rusher in franchise history, rushing for 6,096 yards and 49 rushing touchdowns.
The highlight of his career was in Jan., 2007, when he rushed for 143 yards and a touchdown as the Saints beat the Philadelphia Eagles 27–24 to earn the first NFC Championship Game appearance in franchise history.
The lowlight, even lower than the two knee injuries he suffered, was a year-and-a-half before that, when Hurricane Katrina struck the city that had become his home. McAllister reflected on that time as the storm’s 10-year anniversary approaches.
“It was rough,” McAllister recalled. “Personally, I wanted to reach out and help so many people that needed help. To think that you had to go out and perform and try to play a game while all of that was going on, we were at a disadvantage. A huge disadvantage.”
The Saints won just three games that year, playing every game on the road, including so-called home games in San Antonio and at LSU.
“To be displaced and not know if you were going to ever return to New Orleans to play a game was tough,” he said.
But the Saints — and the city — bounced back, capturing a Super Bowl a year after McAllister retired.
He was made an honorary captain during a playoff game in that historic championship season. He is still a fan favorite, with his No. 26 jersey still being worn in the Dome on Sundays.
“You saw what the people went through as far as being Saints fans, even when we were losing,” McAllister said. “They had the low moments back when they were wearing the bags over their faces. But even despite that, they weren’t going to give those tickets away. They were going to sit in there and watch it. Just to be able to be able to see the franchise turn around in the last 10 years or so has been pretty exciting.”
McAllister was one of three inductees Saturday night, joining Linda Tuero and Wally Whitehurst.
Tuero was a tennis pro. Whitehurst is an ex-Major League Baseball player.
Deuce did his on the gridiron, although that wasn’t his sport of choice as a kid growing up in Mississippi.
His first loves were soccer and basketball.
He referred to those as “1A and 1B” when asked about his sports of choice as a kid.
But eventually, football won out.
He considered transferring from his high school his senior year of high school to get more exposure on the football field.
But he knew he had a chance to do big things on the gridiron, especially by the time his senior year rolled around at Morton High School.
“When I had Lou Holtz, Jackie Sherrill and Tommy Tuberville coming to sit in a basketball gym to watch me play, I know I had a chance.”
Several colleges, like Alabama, wanted him to play on defense.
“I probably could’ve played cornerback or outside linebacker, but I wanted to touch the ball,” he said. “I thought I could do something special with it.”
And for eight seasons, he did, running past helpless defenders in the Dome.
Saturday night, he was back in the Dome, but not for long.
The Deuce was on the loose again like old times.