Former Saints player, broadcasting great Hokie Gajan dead at 56

Former Saints player, broadcasting great Hokie Gajan dead at 56

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - When defining the word tough one could certainly look it up in the dictionary or they could just take a look at Hokie Gajan.

From Baker High School to LSU to the New Orleans Saints, Gajan lived a Louisiana kid's ultimate dream.

Nicknamed the Bayou Bowling Ball, he played five seasons with the Saints and even led the team in receiving yards in 1984. That season he also averaged six yards a carry on the ground, which ranks fourth all-time in NFL history.

He might have played longer had it not been for a brutal knee injury that cut his career short in 1985.

But Gajan didn't stay down for long. After officially retiring in 1987, he used his football expertise to become a scout for the organization and stayed in that role until 2000.

Then he moved his way into the radio booth where he was paired with Jim Henderson. The duo were together for some of the most memorable calls in team history, including a call during the Saints' first playoff win, "Hakim drops the ball" and the call when the Saints won the NFC Conference Championship, sending them to the franchise's first Super Bowl, "Pigs have flown. Hell as frozen over."

Throughout his adult life, Gajan battled many physical issues like gout, bad knees and a bad back, but through it all he, managed the pain with a smile on his face, a witty sense of humor and an incredible work ethic.

But then things took a drastic turn for Gajan during the 2015 Saints season. In November he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

Gajan kept going and never let it completely interfere with his radio duties. Despite the grueling treatment, Gajan only missed one broadcast..

In the end, Gajan fought the good fight but succumbed to the aggressive cancer and died with those closest to him by his side.

He's survived by his wife and four daughters and leaves behind a legacy and a personality that will never be replicated.

Gajan was 56 years old.

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