NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - They first met nearly 35 years ago as part of the 1981 Saints draft class, but it didn't take long for Hokie Gajan to earn the respect of Rickey Jackson.
"I first met Hokie back in '81," Jackson recalled. "He looked tough when I met him."
Tough, physical and dependable, Jackson said Gajan was all of that. Plus, he was the perfect complement to his backfield mate and fellow rookie.
"Him and George Rodgers was just total opposites. George would run the ball downhill at full speed and Hokie would run inside full speed," Jackson said. "He wasn't trying to duck no licks, I can tell you that much."
Both men were beloved by the fan base; Jackson as the 'city champ' and Gajan as the 'bayou bowling ball.' Jackson said they shared a bond off the field.
"We were always close. I put him as one of the closest teammates that I had because I really wasn't a guy that would run with teammates as much. I was always a guy that run with people that didn't play football. He was one of the guys that was always one of my favorites," Jackson said.
Jackson and Gajan both stayed close to the organization well past their playing days and both stayed true to who they were. According to Jackson, Gajan was a Louisiana guy through and through.
"He would do anything for you and he never said anything negative or nothing like that. You couldn't get him to talk negative about a teammate," Jackson said. "Just a good old cajun boy, I mean he's a real cajun boy a lot of people want to be cajun but he was real."