Deuce McAllister is one of the best running backs in New Orleans Saints franchise history.
Beyond the 6,096 rushing yards and 49 rushing touchdowns he had during his memorable nine-year NFL career – all with the Saints – McAllister became a legend and fan favorite in The Big Easy for his off-field exploits.
Die-hard Saints fans will never forget the chants of “Deuuuuce!” every time he took the field at the former Louisiana Superdome.
Truly, Deuce McAllister set the bar high for the next generation of running backs in the National Football League.
Dulymus Jenod “Deuce” McAllister was born in Ludlow, MS on December 27, 1978.
He was the second of four children in his family. The two older siblings are boys while the two younger ones are girls.
McAllister excelled in soccer as a youngster before he chose football, per the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.
He attended Morton High School and played football for the Morton Panthers.
McAllister’s head football coach with the Panthers, Terry Coggins, gave him the nickname “Deuce,” per SaturdayDownSouth.com’s Jordan Cox.
In an August 2010 interview with MyNewOrleans.com’s Sue Strachan, McAllister singled out one of his high school coaches, William Brown, as the toughest he had in his football career.
McAllister whittled down his college choices to the Ole Miss Rebels, Mississippi State Bulldogs, and Alabama Crimson Tide.
He eventually chose Ole Miss, where he majored in criminal justice and minored in English.
Deuce McAllister would go on to become one of the best running backs in Ole Miss school history.
College Days With The Ole Miss Rebels
Deuce McAllister played as a running back and kick return specialist for the Ole Miss Rebels from 1997 to 2000.
McAllister told RedCupRebellion.com’s Ruby Draayer in August 2021 choosing Ole Miss and remaining in-state allowed his family to watch him play:
“So for me, having the opportunity for my family to be at every game was huge. I really wanted them to experience that.”
“I visited other places that were farther off like Notre Dame and Miami, but I thought it was important for myself and my family to have them there to see me play.”
McAllister had 402 rushing yards and four touchdowns in his true freshman season in 1997.
Ole Miss won eight of twelve games that year. The Rebels beat the Marshall Thundering Herd in the 1997 Motor City Bowl, 34-31.
— SEC Country (@SEC_Country_) August 7, 2014
McAllister had his best year in terms of rushing yardage in his sophomore campaign a season later.
He had 1,082 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in 1998.
The Rebels had a 7-5 win-loss record that year. They beat the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the 1998 Independence Bowl on New Year’s Eve, 35-18.
Deuce McAllister earned Second Team All-SEC honors after the 1998 NCAA season for his outstanding play on the gridiron.
McAllister continued playing at a high level in his junior season.
He had 930 rushing yards and a career-best 13 touchdowns in the 1999 NCAA campaign.
Ole Miss went 8-4 under new head football coach David Cutcliffe.
The Rebels won their third straight bowl game. This time around, they narrowly beat the Oklahoma Sooners in the 1999 Independence Bowl, 27-25.
Deuce McAllister received the Conerly Trophy – an award given to the best college football player in the state. – from the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame after the 1999 NCAA season.
McAllister also earned First Team All-SEC honors in 1999.
Shoulder, hamstring, and ankle injuries limited McAllister to just 767 rushing yards in his senior year with the Rebels in 2000.
Ole Miss won seven of twelve games that year. The Rebels lost to the West Virginia Mountaineers in the 2000 Music City Bowl, 49-38.
After Deuce McAllister played his final down with the Rebels, he set school records for attempts (616), rushing yards (3,060), rushing touchdowns (36), career touchdowns (41), points (246), and career 100-yard games (13).
Deuce McAllister finished his college career with Ole Miss records for carries (616), yards (3,060), rushing touchdowns (36), total touchdowns (41) points (246) and 100-yard games (13). pic.twitter.com/PJHppEXlXF
— Alex Carter (@Dark305Knight) September 30, 2020
McAllister spent one summer in Costa Rica during his college days at Ole Miss.
His head coach David Cutcliffe was apprehensive at first because of the country’s high crime rate. He eventually relented and gave his running back his blessing.
The opportunity also allowed McAllister to step away from the limelight at Ole Miss where he was constantly mobbed by autograph seekers between classes, per ESPN’s Shelley Smith.
“I just wanted to be a regular student taking classes,” McAllister told ESPN.
McAllister lived with a local family and attended daily classes conducted in Spanish from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. He also worked out regularly at a local gym.
McAllister told Smith the trip gave him a better perspective of the world and of himself.
He also told ESPN he learned to be more patient. He noticed Costa Ricans weren’t in much of a rush when they did their daily activities.
Rebels quarterback Romero Miller, McAllister’s roommate and best friend, noticed a change in the Ole Miss running back when he returned to the States.
“I think he’s more relaxed,” Miller told Smith. “Before he went, it seemed like he was always in a rush. Now it seems like he’s been down there, he’s sort of relaxed and sort of laid back.”
McAllister said he loved eating at Ole Miss’ Square during his playing days with the Rebels from 1997 to 2000, per RedCupRebellion.com:
“For me, anywhere on the Square. Old Venice Kitchen was my spot that I would always go to on Thursdays, just to get some pasta and other good stuff like that.”
“From a game day standpoint, we were always in Tupelo or Grenada, so the team meal at the hotel was different than the environment on the Square.”
McAllister also told Draayer he had been watching around two or three live Rebels football games every year. He had noticed how much the fan experience had changed since he suited up for Ole Miss more than two decades ago.
Pro Football Career
The New Orleans Saints made Deuce McAllister the 23rd overall selection of the 2001 NFL Draft.
McAllister did his pre-draft workouts in Arizona and Pittsburgh, PA. He told NewOrelansSaints.com in 2021 he saw Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward and running back Jerome Bettis working out at the team facility back then.
McAllister didn’t do all of the drills at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, IN in February 2001. He waited until he flew back to Oxford, MS so he could work out for other teams.
Even though the Saints were McAllister’s hometown team, he told NOLA.com ten years later he never thought he’d play for them.
McAllister told John DeShazier of the Saints’ official website he decided to watch the draft festivities from his home because didn’t get a guarantee he was one of the first ten picks in the draft.
He pointed out rookies drafted in the first round typically had to wait 15 minutes inside the green room between selections. McAllister didn’t want to wait that long, so he decided to stay home.
“That’s a lot of sitting,” McAllister told DeShazier on the 20th anniversary of his drafting. “And even though we didn’t have a lot of camera phones back then, one camera was too much, particularly if you’re uncomfortable.”
Even though the Saints already had a reliable running back in Ricky Williams, they still plucked McAllister from the draft pool. The latter didn’t have any issues with it at all: he told NewOrleansSaints.com in 2021 he was relieved to be finally off the board.
McAllister also revealed to DeShazier the Minnesota Vikings rang him on draft day. They told him they’d pick him if the Saints didn’t.
Another team that showed interest in McAllister was the Chicago Bears.
McAllister told NOLA.com he stepped outside of his house to play a bit of basketball to get his mind off the draft for a while after the Bears reached out to him.
McAllister slid down the draft board because of his prior injury history at Ole Miss.
It was a fortuitous turn of events since he wound up in New Orleans.
McAllister eventually earned legendary status with the Saints’ rabid fan base during his nine-year NFL career.
“He’s obviously one of the best to ever wear that uniform,” former Saints director of player personnel Rick Mueller told NOLA.com. “And picking at that spot, to get that caliber player is really lucky, really fortunate. I don’t know that you can find a better player and a better guy.”
Mueller also told NOLA.com McAllister was the best draft picks the team ever made during his eight-year tenure as a Saints football executive.
McAllister’s NFL career got off to a slow start. He had just 91 rushing yards and a touchdown in 16 games in his rookie year in 2001.
However, when the Saints traded Ricky Williams to the Miami Dolphins in March 2002, McAllister’s career flourished.
McAllister went on to record at least 1,067 rushing yards in four of his next five seasons in the Big Easy. He also became a Pro Bowler in 2002 and 2003.
Name a random NFL player that you love or miss!
— ThrillsFantasyFootball (@TFFPhilip) October 6, 2021
The Saints were mainly a mediocre team during that stretch. They missed the postseason in Deuce McAllister’s first five years in the pro ranks.
McAllister’s torn right ACL limited him to just five games in the 2005 NFL season. It was the same year Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans.
McAllister tore his ACL in his left knee two years later. The injury limited him to just three games.
Before McAllister’s four pro season kicked off, he donated $1 million to his alma mater, the University of Mississippi, for the construction of its new indoor facility in May 2004.
McAllister became the second-highest paid running back after he agreed to a seven-year contract extension with the Saints on July 29, 2005.
According to ESPN, McAllister’s new eight-year deal was worth $50.1 million, including $12.5 million in bonuses.
The Saints released McAllister on February 17, 2009 because of salary cap issues.
McAllister told the Saints’ official website in the aftermath of his release he had no animosity toward the organization:
“There is no animosity. I just had the opportunity to speak to Mr. Benson a second ago and I’m happy and thankful Rita (Benson) came in here today.”
“There’s no at all on my part. It just didn’t work. At the end of the day, it didn’t work, but at the same time, I’m going to remember the good memories that we had.”
Even back then, McAllister saw himself working for the Saints organization in a non-playing capacity. Whatever that was, he told NewOrleansSaints.com in 2009 The Big Easy “will always be home for me.”
McAllister’s hunch came true some six years later when the Saints hired him to become their radio analyst.
The Saints placed McAllister on their reserve/retire list on January 19, 2010. A day later, they named him an honorary captain.
According to the Saints’ official website, the honorary captain is “a player, coach, or administrator that has had a profound impact on a franchise’s success and allows fans to recognize the contributions of the individual.”
McAllister accompanied team captains Drew Brees, Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, and Troy Evans at midfield before the coin toss of the NFC Championship Game against the Minnesota Vikings.
McAllister confirmed his retirement from the NFL to The Associated Press (via ESPN) on the same day the Saints named him an honorary captain.
Even though McAllister never played in the Saints’ 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIX, he still earned a Super Bowl ring because he was on the team roster as an honorary captain.
When Strachan asked McAllister his sentiments on New Orleans’ first Super Bowl title, he said he was very fortunate to have been a part of it all:
“I was truly blessed and happy that the Saints made me a part of it,” McAllister said. “It showed that all of the hard work had paid off. It was definitely an honor.”
The best RB in Ole Miss history, 2x pro blower, and Super Bowl XLIV champ. Those weren’t boos you heard when he touched the ball, but “DEUUUUUUUCE!”
Deuce McAllister days until Disney! pic.twitter.com/ICrNKAlnPD
— Disney_Dad (@DisneyDad9) February 15, 2021
Deuce McAllister concluded his nine-year NFL career with 6,096 rushing yards and 49 touchdowns on 1,429 carries.
Seven months after McAllister officially hung up his cleats, he told Strachan he would’ve loved to have played offensive lineman during his football career.
McAllister added he “has complete respect” for offensive linemen.
He also considered Hall-of-Fame running backs Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk as his mentors. He also mentioned to Strachan that Bo Jackson was another mentor he admired.
“I always wanted to be the next Bo Jackson,” McAllister told Strachan.
Deuce McAllister also rattled off several of his favorites to MyNewOrleans.com:
- Book: Michael Jordan: A Biography by Bill Gutman and Bo Jackson biographies
- Movies: Titanic and Remember the Titans
- TV show: Law and Order: SVU
- Restaurant: Drago’s
- Food: Spaghetti in either plain red sauce or meat sauce
- Music: R&B
- Singer: Yolanda Adams
- Hobbies: Fishing and traveling with friends and family
- Vacation: Anywhere with a beach
McAllister considered his 143-yard, one-touchdown performance against the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2006 NFC Divisional Round his best game, per Strachan.
On the other hand, his most memorable game was the emotional victory against the Atlanta Falcons after Hurricane Katrina.
Deuce McAllister and his wife have three sons.
McAllister became a member of the Independence Bowl Hall of Honor in June 2006. He had a combined five touchdowns in his two Independence Bowl appearances in 1998 and 1999.
McAllister joined his head coach at Ole Miss David Cutcliffe in the Independence Bowl Hall of Honor.
According to Complex.com (via Sportscasting.com’s Stephen Sheehan), McAllister made roughly $70 million during his nine-year career in the National Football League.
Regrettably, his net worth dwindled to just $50,000 several years after he retired.
McAllister’s financial woes reportedly began when he filed for bankruptcy protection after he owed car dealership Nissan $6 million with $300,000 in interest in 2009.
McAllister’s financial woes continued two years later.
The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office reportedly seized a house he owned and put it up for auction in the summer of 2011, per The New Orleans Times-Picayune (via Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith).
Whitney National Bank, which claimed McAllister owed $1.8 million in mortgage fees, sued him that year.
McAllister was the recipient of the Army Community Award in 2010 for his dedicated service to the states of Mississippi and Louisiana.
The Ole Miss Rebels hired McAllister as an offensive quality control coach under head football coach Huge Freeze on February 2, 2012.
The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inducted Deuce McAllister in 2012. He was also inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame the same year.
The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame inducted McAllister in 2014.
McAllister became a member of the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame a year later.
St. Martin’s Episcopal School hired McAllister as an athletic consultant on March 27, 2017.
McAllister spoke about his passion for molding scholar athletes on the school’s official website:
“Mentoring the next generation of scholar athletes and helping them take their skill sets to the next level is my way of paying it forward.”
“St. Martin’s is an outstanding school and community. I’m looking forward to working hand-in-hand with the athletic department as we build on its strong foundation and develop champions on and off the field.”
Deuce McAllister also has a restaurant business.
His Deuce McAllister’s Ole Saint Kitchen & Tap, which is part of Boomtown Casino in Biloxi, MS, opened in January 2019.
He also has another branch along Canal Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter.
The restaurant serves craft beer, oysters, wings, fried seafood, and sandwiches.
“I think this is the perfect place where friends can gather to watch games or where people can unwind and relax after work whether wearing their favorite team jersey or a suit and tie,” McAllister told SaturdayDownSouth.com.
Deuce McAllister to join the SEC Network as College Football Analyst, ESPN/SEC announced.
"I am excited to join ESPN and SEC Network this fall," said McAllister. "I look forward to talking ball every Saturday."
The first assignment will be Alabama State at Auburn on Sept. 11. pic.twitter.com/scTGPvlIqG
— Brad Logan (@BradLoganCOTE) August 27, 2021
The SEC Network hired McAllister to work as a college football analyst on August 27, 2021. He joined other former New Orleans Saints players Roman Harmer and Benjamin Watson as co-workers on the network.
Other former Saints players who are currently working in sports media include NBC Sports’ Drew Brees and FOX Sports’ Jonathan Vilma.
McAllister is currently in his sixth season as a Saints radio analyst for WWL. He works with veteran television broadcaster Mike Hoss.
The Saints legend told the team’s official website in the summer of 2020 it was a blessing to play for the Saints and work as their radio analyst after he retired:
“And to be able to, like I said, have my family and friends have that opportunity to where they could drive and see me play. That doesn’t happen often.”
“Then to have the opportunity to talk about the game and be involved with the organization. You are truly humbled, you are humbled by it.”
McAllister has also been heavily involved in community and business endeavors in New Orleans and his hometown of Jackson, MS.
McAllister’s Catch 22 Foundation has helped many less fortunate families and kids throughout the years. It has also helped the Gulf Coast region recover from the wrath of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.
“I started the foundation to help provide role models for kids in the inner city to look up to,” McAllister told Ole Miss’ offiicial athletics website in 2004.
Deuce McAllister is an avid golfer. Playing golf has been his way of staying fit in retirement.
“When I go and play, I normally hit about 13,000 to 15,000 steps,” McAllister told NOLA.com’s Luke Johnson in July 2020. “And I don’t walk, I use a cart. So that tells you my ball is scattered all over the course. But I get my steps in. I’m not very good, but I enjoy it.’
Accidentally finding his young son's tiny putter buried in his golf bag, former #neworleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister pretends to use it at the Saints Hall of Fame Celebrity Golf Classic on Monday at the Bayou Oaks in N.O. Pic by Chris Granger @Saints @dmcallister26 pic.twitter.com/pvwIxEk49O
— Chris Granger (@chris_granger) May 20, 2019
When Johnson asked McAllister what his biggest concern was if he reported for training camp as an active player during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Saints legend said, “Testing.”
In terms of testing, McAllister was concerned about the protocols the NFL will put in place. He was also concerned about how many players and family members the league will test.
McAllister also made a surprising revelation to NOLA.com: all NFL players are not 100 percent healthy.
“Every NFL player is not perfectly healthy,” he told Johnson. “There are a ton of guys who play this game and have some underlying conditions they’re dealing with.”