Saints players thankful to be living NFL dream

METAIRIE, La. -- Some New Orleans Saints players were asked Wednesday what they’re thankful for in terms of football. I didn’t catch all the answers, but the ones I heard from safety Kenny Vaccaro and cornerback Keenan Lewis were heartfelt.

Both talked about not taking it for granted that they are living their lifelong dream of playing in the NFL. And Vaccaro mentioned the recent news that fellow safety Eric Berry of the Kansas City Chiefs is facing a possible lymphoma diagnosis.

Vaccaro: "Just being able to play this game, period. You get down (sometimes), you start thinking about, individual (accolades), for me, 'Oh, am I going to make this this year, or Pro Bowl?' Then again, it’s just a blessing to be in this league, period. Because you go against elite players. Like, what’s the chances when I was born that I was going to make it to the NFL, you know what I’m saying? But I think about that before every game. Every snap, you can’t take it for granted. Especially seeing the Eric Berry situation, that really hit me when I saw that. Somebody that’s so athletic, so healthy, that something like that happens to him. You can’t take any snaps for granted. You just gotta thank God that you can go out there.

"You can listen to critics on Instagram and Twitter saying, 'You can’t do this, you can’t do this.' Well, a lot of people can’t in this position, period. At least I have the opportunity to even step on the field with guys like Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham. These are guys people are going to talk about way long after they’re gone. ...

"Just these moments, what we’re going through right now, I’ll always remember this the rest of my life. The struggles, I think it’s all a blessing in disguise."

Lewis: "Just having an opportunity to gel with a lot of guys. I thought I’d probably never meet guys like Troy (Polamalu when he played in Pirrsburgh), Drew and those types of guys who one day they’ll be in the Hall of Fame. And I could tell my children that I had the opportunity to play with those type of guys. And just living the dream, that’s something I’ve been dreaming as a kid, of making it to the National Football League, and I’m living it and I’m proud of that."