Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 6/6/12
By BRETT MARTEL, AP Sports Writer METAIRIE, La. (AP) -- Rookie receiver Nick Toon was looking over the jersey numbers the Saints were offering him when his eyes fixed on No. 88, the same number his All-Pro father, Al Toon, wore with the New York Jets. "I thought it would be pretty cool to wear the same number. So I'm kind of paying homage to him," the younger Toon said during Saints minicamp this week. "I saw it at the end of the list of the numbers and I said, 'I've got to have that one.'" He even resembled his father in Wednesday's practice, when he used his long reach and sure hands to make a one-handed grab in tight coverage at the edge of the end zone before falling out of bounds. "He was out," offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. said, laughing, but added that the catch demonstrated what coaches were expecting to see when they made the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Toon their second overall draft pick in April, selecting him in the fourth round. "Any young guy coming into this offense has got a lot to learn. He's got it down now ... runs good routes," Carmichael said. "He's got great hands, great focus, great concentration." Although his parents never pressured him to play football -- even forbid him to play until seventh grade -- the younger Toon thrived playing the same position his father did at Wisconsin. Last season, Toon led the Badgers in receiving with 64 catches for 926 yards and 10 touchdowns. Now he'll see if he can be a successful second-generation pro. Toon is not sure if being the son of a former NFL star is an advantage, "but it obviously doesn't hurt," he said, adding, "My dad was a great player and it's in my blood." The Saints drafted two sons of NFL pros last year -- running back Mark Ingram and defensive end Cameron Jordan -- and so far that has worked out well. Jordan worked his way into a starting role in his rookie season and Ingram was a central part of the offense. Carmichael said that when coaches met Toon at the NFL combine, they saw "a mature young man who understood what it took to play at this level." "You could tell that he had been around the game and had been around someone who had been around the game," Carmichael said. "Whether gives him an advantage, I don't know, but we have high expectations." Toon comes to a Saints team that lost one of its top receivers when Robert Meachem left for San Diego in free agency. Adrian Arrington is expected to be first in line to step into that void as he enters his fifth year as a pro, but Toon, a favorite prospect of Saints wide receivers coach Henry Ellard, could provide some competition. The Saints have compared Toon in body type and his ability to make tough catches to star receiver Marques Colston, and Toon says he was watching Colston closely, hoping to use his success as a blueprint. The saints have "had success with a player of his caliber and his body type, his skill set," Toon said of Colston. "People have compared me to him. Obviously we're not the same player, but have similar qualities, so hopefully I can have as much success as he had." Toon said he talks to his father regularly, but does not really consult him on technical, on-the-field matters. "He's really more of a life coach for me, speaks to me about the big picture and the important stuff, knowing your assignments, doing what you're supposed to do, taking care of your business on and off the field," Toon said. "He's obviously my father so that's his job first, to be a dad and everything else after that." Toon, who was still a preschooler when his father's NFL career ended, said he always wanted to play football, but appreciated his parents' decision to keep him off the gridiron when he was young, giving him a chance to try many other sports. He played soccer, baseball, basketball, ran track and even tried lacrosse for a year. "There was never pressure from either of my parents to play football or play sports for that matter," Toon said. "I went out and played catch like any little kid, but it wasn't one of those things like people picture in their head, that as soon as I came out of the womb where was a football in my hands." "It's important for especially young kids to experience a wide array of sports," Toon continued. "A lot of kids are getting specialized in sports before they even get to junior high or high school and that's unfortunate. As a young kid you should be playing two or three different sports and experience everything and if sports is what you want to do, find the game that you love. Experience everything. So I'm glad it went the way it went when I was younger." It certainly didn't stop him from pursuing his NFL dreams.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
One Gotta Go: NFL Legends (and Jose Canseco!) Have No Love For Captain America
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Colin Kaepernick on national anthem: 'I'll continue to sit'

Stephen Jones: Cowboys 'look forward' to starting Prescott

Stanton has 'slim chance' of returning for final week?

Kubiak hinting that Siemian is favorite for Broncos' QB job?

John Harbaugh: NFL needs to make changes to preseason

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Romo expected to miss 6-10 weeks with broken bone in back

Kaepernick explains why he is protesting national anthem

Dwyane Wade’s cousin shot and killed in Chicago

NFL tries to reduce kick returns, promptly causes more kick returns

San Francisco Giants inching closer to a record they really don’t want

Clint Dempsey undergoing testing for irregular heartbeat

A sports history of not standing up for the national anthem

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

Marshall’s first impression of Fitzpatrick: ‘He was terrible’

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Six worst quarterback situations in the NFL

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

A sports history of not standing up for the national anthem

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

The 20 best boxing movies of all time

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker