When Falcons cornerback Robert Alford faces the Saints twice each season, it’s a different experience for him than it is for the rest of the team.
Alford grew up in Hammond, Louisiana, rooting for the Saints, and the love he had for that team lingers. Still, his loyalty lies solely with the Falcons now.
"I’m from down there, so I always have some type of feeling for the Saints, but once we’re playing them, it’s our enemy — enemy lines for me," Alford said.
Alford went to Southeastern Louisiana, where he was named first team All-Southland Conference in his senior season, after recording 35 solo tackles, five tackles for loss, four interceptions and eight pass breakups.
Still, nobody from the Saints scouted Alford coming out of college, and that motivates him today as his Falcons prepare to face New Orleans on Monday Night Football.
"It’s just something with me just being a competitor, once I play the Saints, I feel some type of way, because like you know, I went to Southeastern, so I was down there," Alford said. "I didn’t get looked at by any of the Saints’ scouts, so once I play the Saints, I just feel like it’s something that I need to prove, something I need to show to the scouts that passed up on me."
The Falcons selected Alford in the second round of the 2012 draft, and he’s been a solid addition to the defensive backfield opposite Pro Bowler Desmond Trufant, the team’s first round pick in that draft.
Alford is proud of where he came from and he loves Louisiana, but his loyalty lies solely with the Falcons now. The Saints’ decision to overlook him will be motivation for Alford on Monday night.