Fujita signs with Saints from Andes, retires
Linebacker Scott Fujita signed a one-day contract with the New Orleans Saints on Monday and then announced his retirement after 11 seasons in the NFL.
Fujita signed his contract in Machu Picchu, which is located in the Andes Mountains in Peru. He's there with former Saints teammate Steve Gleason, who is battling Lou Gehrig's Disease.
In a statement from the team, Fujita said he couldn't think of a better place to be to announce his retirement.
"What better place to reach the end of the road than here at 10,000 feet above sea level, in the Peruvian Andes overlooking Machu Picchu with my dear friend Steve Gleason?"
Fujita was one of four players suspended by the NFL in its investigation of the Saints' bounty program but fought to clear his name of the three-game ban. Commissioner Roger Goodell later reduced Fujita's suspension to one game before the suspensions of all players implicated were later vacated by former commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
The 33-year-old Fujita, who played for the Cleveland Browns the past three seasons, helped the Saints win a Super Bowl during his time with the team (2006-09).
He has 767 tackles, 23.5 sacks, 11 forced fumbles and seven interceptions in 143 career games.
"I've been fortunate to play in this league for a long time and for some great organizations, but there is no doubt that my times spent in New Orleans were some of the best years of my life," Fujita said in the statement.
"The way the team and the community embraced us when we first arrived, and the way they continue to do so, even today, shows how deep this connection is. I'm honored to be a part of this organization and so proud to retire as a New Orleans Saint."
General manager Mickey Loomis and coach Sean Payton pointed out in the team's statement that Fujita was the first player the team signed in free agency after Payton became the team's coach in 2006.
"It was an important acquisition for us, getting a player of his caliber to come to New Orleans despite the conditions [post-Hurricane Katrina] for a number of reasons because he saw an opportunity to become involved in the rebuilding of the city, yet quickly realized how important the team was to that effort," Loomis said.
Payton called Fujita "a cornerstone of the foundation that we've built and we won a World Championship together.
"It's been said that when you win a championship together, you walk together for the rest of your lives and that's certainly appropriate to celebrate on a day like today."
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