Saints' Unger valued in New Orleans, missed in Seattle
METAIRIE - New Orleans Saints center Max Unger finally gets to play against a defense he knows so well in a game that counts.
"It's just a lot of memories of playing the defense in practice," Unger said when asked what he finds most compelling about the chance to play Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, the team with which he spent his first six NFL seasons.
Unger, who was popular both in the Seahawks' locker room and with Seattle fans, concedes that he was caught off guard by the 2015 trade that sent him to New Orleans, along with a first-round draft choice, in exchange for star tight end Jimmy Graham. But if the Unger is motivated personally by the prospect of making the Seahawks pay for uprooting him from a community he liked living in and playing for, he's not letting on about it.
"There's a lot of emotions, obviously, that go across when you get traded," Unger said. "You kind of have to remove that personal element. ... I'm not the first player to ever play against their former team. It happens weekly in this locker room. So it's funny to hear the stories and so this will be another one."
While the Hawaii native and former second-round draft choice out of Oregon wasn't entirely thrilled by having to leave the West Coast, he was curious about the culture and history of New Orleans and eager to experience something different. He figured he'd get a lot out of playing with record-setting quarterback Drew Brees, and he at least knew the Saints really valued him; they must have to trade a star as prolific as Graham for him.
After practice Thursday, Unger went so far as to say he "couldn't be happier" than he is right now as an offensive leader with the Saints, who named him a captain this season.
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