Sean Payton wanted Mississippi State quarterback Tommy Stevens, and he was tired of asking nicely.
Stevens joined the Hangin ‘With Hester radio program at Baton Rouge on Friday to talk about his experience with the NFL draft last week. The New Orleans Saints returned in the seventh round to select Stevens 240th overall, and Stevens told a funny story about how it happened.
The story of how Tommy Stevens (@TMS_II) ended up with New Orleans @Saints is intriguing! Sean Payton’s second phone call was different from the first. We had Tommy @ HanginOn1045, and this is the story of the man himself.
Full interview: https://t.co/g7j1MPDuNi pic.twitter.com/RGofNhf2Xh
– Jacob Hester (@ JacobHester18) April 30, 2020
During the draft process, Stevens said he had reduced his personal list of teams he thought was a good choice for him to three – and the Saints were included in that number.
He struck out the Saints as a potential landing point in the repechage after the team traded all of their picks from Day 3 to select tight end Dayton Adam Trautman in the third round the day before. But his favorite landing spots would come in handy if he was not drafted, and as the draft stretched to the seventh round, it looked like it would be.
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He then received a call from a number he did not recognize with a Texas area code. He looked up at the TV screen, but didn’t see the two Texas-based NFL teams with a choice ahead. Curious, Stevens answered the call and Payton was on the other line.
“I hadn’t spoken to Coach Payton yet, so it was a bit of a surprise,” said Stevens. “I was a bit taken aback by this, but talking to Coach Payton, someone of his magnitude, was great.”
Payton began to explain to Stevens why Stevens should sign with New Orleans after the draft, that the team had a “unique vision” for him as a player and thought he would be in good shape with the organization. There was just one problem.
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“At the time, I thought I was going to fit in somewhere else,” said Stevens. “So, as polite and respectful as possible, I said to coach Payton,” Hey, I think my best situation might be to go a different route. “”
Payton said he would call back, and a few minutes later, they were back on the phone. This time, Stevens’ agent responded. Payton took the field, but Stevens and his agent did not move. This set up Payton’s third call, which included a line that Stevens will not soon forget.
He received another call from a number he didn’t recognize, but this time it came from an area code 504. He answered and Payton was on the line with the general manager of the Saints, Mickey Loomis.
“Coach Payton said it, and I’ll never forget it:” The last time I called you, I asked you to come to New Orleans, but this time I left you no choice . We are going to exchange the project and we are going to take you ”, remembers Stevens.
The Saints sent a sixth round pick in 2021 to Houston for pick # 240, which they used to select Stevens.
Although he ultimately lost his personal free agency at the last minute, Stevens was satisfied with the place where he had landed.
“I still have a lot of room to grow as a quarterback, and what better opportunity is there elsewhere in the league than going into the quarterback room I go to,” said Stevens. “Learn from all these different guys who have different skills and experiences. I can’t think of a better situation. ”
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