METAIRIE, La. -- As an All-Pro fullback, Lorenzo Neal made a career out of paving the way for some of the NFL's great runners for 16 years. Now it's Neal's son who is following in his footsteps.
Former Purdue defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal Jr. signed Sunday as an undrafted rookie free agent with the New Orleans Saints, the same team that drafted his dad in 1993.
Neal Jr. was signed after being invited to try out during the Saints' rookie minicamp over the weekend. The team also signed linebacker Quentin Poling and offensive lineman Kyle Murphy after tryouts.
Neal Jr. (6-foot-3, 325 pounds) was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by the coaches in both 2018 and 2020. But his career was waylaid by a torn ACL that sidelined him for the entire 2019 season. He finished his college career with 73 tackles, 4 sacks and 4 forced fumbles in 38 games.
Neal Sr. began his career as a tailback with the Saints but was converted to fullback after an ankle injury his rookie year. He spent four seasons in New Orleans before playing for the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Ravens.
Neal was a member of the 2000s all-decade team, a two-time first-team All-Pro selection and a four-time Pro Bowler. He had an 11-year streak of blocking for 1,000-yard rushers, including five with Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego.
Neal also had a big impact on Drew Brees as a supportive teammate early in Brees' career with the Chargers.