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Colston on cusp of Saints' TD record
Even now that he has established himself as arguably the NFL's best player, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers still uses the snubs he received along the way as motivation.
Marques Colston is wired differently.
When he sets New Orleans' all-time touchdown record with his next scoring grab, Colston will have a golden chance to stick it to those other 31 teams that believed 251 other players were more worthy of being chosen in the 2006 NFL Draft.
He won't, though. That's because the wide receiver says he has no bitterness about having slipped into the seventh round or being forced to earn a big-money contract the hard way.
“It’s never been about other people for me," Colston told FOXSports.com. "It’s always been about the dream I’ve had ever since I was a little boy playing Pop Warner football.
"There’s going to be naysayers at every level you get to. For me, it’s been about keeping my dream close to my heart and continuing to work to get to it.”
Such an approach has served Colston well on his road from college obscurity at Hofstra University, which doesn’t even field a football team any more.
Entering the FOX America's Game of the Week against visiting San Francisco (4:25 p.m. ET Sunday), Colston is again leading the Saints with 51 catches for 721 yards and seven touchdowns. Only eight other NFL players have more receiving yards over the past six seasons than Colston with 6,961 on his 500 catches.
And then there are his 55 touchdown catches, leaving Colston tied with ex-Saints running back Deuce McAllister for the most in franchise history.
"It’s a great accomplishment in terms of the players who have come before me," Colston said. "I’m really just humbled to be in this position. Even more important is they’re meaningful touchdowns for a winning organization.
“I was just fortunate and blessed to come into this situation with a great core of guys and great coaching staff. These are really the guys who have been able to help put me in this position. I credit every accomplishment to the situation more so than just my individual work and things like that.”
Colston, though, isn't giving himself enough credit.
He is quarterback Drew Brees' favorite third-down target, which is quite the compliment considering the other offensive talent the Saints field. Colston is especially adept at using his 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame to shield opposing defensive backs.
“He can create mismatches because of his size and length,” Saints interim head coach Joe Vitt said after Thursday’s practice. “Even with great coverage, Drew can put the ball near his body and he can extend to pluck the ball. And Marcus has become really adept at reading defenses. Whenever you have guys like Drew and Marcus who have played together for so long and in so many big games, they have a great feel for one another.”
The 49ers aren't going to make it easy for Colston to set the Saints' touchdown record. San Francisco is coming off a dominant defensive performance in last Monday night's 32-7 whipping of Chicago. Colston also expects plenty of press coverage from whichever of four 49ers cornerbacks he could be matched against — Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver or Perrish Cox.
And for good reason. Colston burned the 49ers for 136 yards and one touchdown on nine catches last season in the Saints’ 36-32 second-round playoff loss.
"They put a lot on their corners to make plays," Colston said. “They have play-makers on every level of the defense. It’s going to be one of those games where we’re going to have to execute our game plan at a really high level.”
One of the most memorable moments in the Saints' 2008 season came when McAllister set the franchise’s touchdown mark during a 51-29 rout of Green Bay. A long-time fan favorite, McAllister received a raucous ovation from the Superdome crowd as the running back left the field with the football and hugged head coach Sean Payton.
Colston also plans to keep the ball when he sets the record but says any celebrating will be done in context. Considering his team-first approach, that isn’t surprising.
“It will definitely be a big moment for me in my career here as a Saint,” said Colston, 29. “But it’s only going to be special if we get the win. That’s the main focus.”