Hartley: ‘It’s been an honor to wear the Black & Gold’

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON– New Orleans Saints kicker Garrett Hartley (5) and New Orleans Saints quarterback Luke McCown (7) watch a good extra point during a NFL football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Dallas Cowboys in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013.

After being cut by New Orleans on Tuesday and clearing waivers Wednesday, kicker Garrett Hartley logged onto his Twitter account and wrote that “it’s been an honor to wear the Black & Gold.”

“I have been blessed with the opportunity that the (Saints and) ownership have given me,” Hartley told his followers on the social media service. “The memories that were made with this team will live in my heart forever! I can’t say enough for my teammates and their support.

“And finally the Who Dat Nation. Y’all’s passion for the game and this team (is) second to none.”

In his sixth season with New Orleans, Hartley missed a 26-yard field goal and had a 36-yard kick blocked during the Saints’ 27-16 loss in St. Louis this past Sunday. He was 22-of-30 for the season and found himself among the NFL’s least-accurate kickers when the Saints waived him and signed free-agent veteran Shayne Graham to replace him.

It was an abrupt end to Hartley’s time with the Saints, whom he had kicked into their only Super Bowl with a 40-yard, overtime winner in the 2009 NFC Championship Game. He subsequently made three field goals in the Super Bowl and helped New Orleans capture its first-ever major pro sports title.

Hartley’s father, Bill, told The Advocate late Tuesday night that his son had owned a home in the New Orleans area and loved becoming a part of the community.

“He has a lot of friends in New Orleans,” Bill Hartley said. “He’s been good for the Saints, and the Saints have been good for them. It was a good arrangement.

“I think he represented the Saints well, and we are very proud he was a part of the Super Bowl team.”