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Former Aztec Todd Santos Hurt by Saints' Cut

August 24, 1988|SCOTT MILLER

SAN DIEGO — A day after being waived by the New Orleans Saints, former San Diego State quarterback Todd Santos was back home in Selma, Calif., wondering if his football career is finished.

"I knew going in that it would be hard to make the team," Santos said by phone from his parents' home in Selma. "They already had three quarterbacks (Bobby Hebert, Dave Wilson and John Fourcade), and they're all fairly young and already know the system. I figured I was going to give it my best shot. It just didn't work out.

"I'm hoping another team will give me another chance, if not this year, next year."

It is not the first time Santos has been bitterly disappointed with his NFL experience. A Heisman Trophy candidate just a year ago, Santos expected to be picked in the first two or three rounds of the league's draft in April.

Instead, he waited through the entire first day without being picked. Eventually, the Saints, who went 12-3 last season and qualified for the NFL playoffs for the first time, picked him in the 10th round.

Santos did not play in three New Orleans exhibition games this year.

"No, I don't think they gave me a chance," he said. "I didn't play in the first two games, and they told me I might get to play in the third game. But I didn't get in.

"I just wish I had the opportunity to show my ability more. The only time you can do that is in a game situation. I'm disappointed I didn't get into a game, but I had no say-so in the matter. They run it."

Santos, who is major college football's all-time passing leader with 11,425 yards, was pleased with his performance in camp.

"I thought I did well considering it was my first year," he said. "I made some mistakes, but that's going to happen. I also did some things well, too. I think it takes at least a year to learn the pro system. It's a lot different than in college, especially at quarterback. You have to know where everyone is and what they're doing."

Santos was told he was being cut Monday morning by New Orleans Coach Jim Mora.

"He told me I was behind as far as knowing the offense," Santos said. "As a rookie quarterback, of course I'm not going to be totally on top of things. He said that, physically, he thought I could play in the NFL. I guess I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"I'm disappointed, but I'm just going to go on living my life. It was a dream for me, but they apparently didn't think I fit in the organization."

A year ago, he was looking forward to his senior season after leading the Aztecs to their first Western Athletic Conference title and Holiday Bowl bid. This fall, his future is uncertain.

Santos plans to attend Fresno State University part time and look for a part-time job. He's about two semesters short of getting his degree.

What kind of part-time job?

"No idea," he said.

Two of Santos' teammates from the 1987 SDSU team are still listed on active NFL rosters. Offensive lineman Dave DesRochers, Seattle's 12th-round pick, is still with the Seahawks, and linebacker Brett Faryniarz, a free agent, is in the Rams' camp.

Another member of the 1987 SDSU team, free-agent defensive lineman Mike Hooper, was placed on injured reserve Tuesday by the 49ers.

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