NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Dad Gummit…
That Hokie Gajan sure had a way with words, didn't he? He'd say things "on the radio" that he'd use on the street because, at the end of the day, Hokie was always gonna be Hokie, no matter where he was. And when he was talking about the Saints, Hokie never minced words.
It's that Honesty that drew people to this former Saint and LSU running back. It's that Honesty that 'kept' us glued to Saints Radio for so many years.
And now that our friend is gone, we're all left with…."now what do we do." Hokie would tell us to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and move on with your day.
If you knew Hokie, you understood how he thought about himself. He didn't think he was a big deal. To quote former Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan, he just wanted to be a Tiny part of the teams success. That's Hokie. He was always about the team. Making it better while not bring any attention to himself.
For our Jim Henderson, Gajan was the perfect partner. Batman and Robin, Hondo and Gajan. It just worked and it's hard to imagine it not working…..them not working, again.
From Baker to Baton Rouge to New Orleans, football brought Hokie to us. As a player, he was far more substance than flash. The 'bayou bowling ball" spent five seasons with the team he grew up idolizing, the Saints.
His numbers were never that eye-popping. Although, one season in particular, 1984, Gajan led the team in receiving yards while also averaging six yards per carry on the ground. That number 'still' stands as fourth best all-time in NFL history.
If it weren't for a severe knee injury, his career would've extended to who knows how many season. But, the NFL's loss turned out to be the Who Dat Nation's gain. Gajan's retirement in 1987 allowed him to truly find his niche. First as a scout for the Saints followed by what we all know and love him most for today…the yin to Jim Henderson's yang. Side kick extraordinaire. The out-spoken, extremely trusted and respected color analyst of the Saints.
A position he held until his final breath last night. Hokie Gajan's physical pains could be seen, when you saw him. Gout, bad knees, a bad back, a lesser man would've carried a grudge for years over what he's had to deal with. Hokie, took it all in stride and never complained. He just smiled and moved on figuring that someone else was going through more than he was, so why complain.
Which brings us full circle to today. Mourn or celebrate Hokie Gajan? We pray for his family, but Hokie would want all of us move on. I choose to celebrate Hokie Gajan, who at 56-years-old, we think, left us far too soon.
But, maybe he was ready. Maybe, this was Hokie's way of moving on.