A pair of New Orleans natives who excelled on special teams have been elected to the Saints Hall of Fame while the executive from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome who has worked closely with the New Orleans Saints for many years will also be honored in the class of 2015.
Tyrone Hughes and Michael Lewis have been chosen for induction by the Media Selection Committee of the Saints Hall of Fame while SMG executive vice president Doug Thornton will receive the Joe Gemelli Fleur de Lis award for his contributions to the New Orleans Saints and the entire region.
A star at St. Augustine High School, Hughes was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the fifth round out of Nebraska in 1993. He played four seasons for the Saints, covering 63 games.
Hughes returned 116 punts for an average of 9.1 yards per return with two touchdowns and returned 229 kickoffs for an average of 25 yards per return and three touchdowns. He was named an Associated Press second-team All-Pro in 1993 and was chosen for the Pro Bowl as a return specialist that season. Defensively, Hughes had four interceptions and four fumble recoveries and was in on 67 tackles. He holds the NFL record for the most kickoff return yards in a single game (304) when he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns against the Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 23, 1994. He also holds the league record for the most combined kickoff/punt return yards in a game (347), adding 43 punt return yards in the Rams contest.
Lewis attended Grace King High School and he joined his hometown NFL team in 2000, where he played for seven seasons, covering 63 games.
Lewis returned 142 punts for an average of 10.4 yards per return with one touchdown and returned 243 kickoffs for an average of 24.3 yards per return and three touchdowns. He was named a consensus first-team All-Pro in 2002 and was chosen for the Pro Bowl as a return specialist that season. Offensively, Lewis had 28 receptions for 553 yards and one touchdown and rushed two times for 17 yards. He was part of an NFC Western Division champion squad in 2000, the first-ever Saints team to win a playoff game, and part of the 2006 club that reached the NFC Championship game. Lewis currently serves in the position of Ambassador for the Saints franchise.
Thornton joined SMG in 1997 and oversees seven separate municipal accounts on the Gulf Coast. During his tenure at SMG, Thornton has been a leader in producing several high profile events, including two Super Bowls, the Men's and Women's NCAA Final Four, two BCS Championship football games, the Essence Music Festival, the annual Sugar Bowl Classic and many more. Thornton stayed in the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina and helped shepherd the facility renovation in luring the Saints back to New Orleans in time for the 2006 season. He has worked closely with the New Orleans Saints throughout his tenure.
The induction will take place in the fall at a date to be determined in conjunction with a New Orleans Saints home game.
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