It turns out that Auburn University wasn’t the only place in the region to sign a Jewish sports personality this week.
On March 18, the New Orleans Saints signed unrestricted free agent fullback Erik Lorig to a four-year contract. He is one of seven players in the NFL last year who identified as Jewish. His father is Jewish, his mother is of Scandinavian descent.
Last December, he and fellow Buccaneer Gabe Carimi participated in the Chabad of South Tampa Chanukah menorah lighting before Jewish Heritage Night at the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game.
Lorig was drafted in 2010 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the seventh round. Known as a blocker, the Stanford player from Rolling Hills, Calif., started nine games last year and appeared in 15 games. He had 11 receptions for 47 yards. In 2012 he was the lead blocker for running back Doug Martin, who broke the team’s rookie rushing record.
In an interview with a yoga clinic where he practices when home in California, he said he is “the most athletic mensch you’ll ever see in the studio.”
By going to the Saints, he leaves the only NFL team with two Jewish players to make the Saints the only NFL team with two Jewish players — at least for now. Center Brian de la Puente is a free agent and is currently exploring other options.
While de la Puente is mentioned on several lists as Jewish, the Jewish Sports Review dropped him from their list in 2012. In an interview with the Review, de la Puente said his maternal grandmother was Jewish but his maternal grandfather was not, and he considers himself “nothing” in religious terms. The Review lists athletes with one Jewish grandparent only if they otherwise identify as Jewish.