Tim Lelito is excited about his opportunity to start at left guard. He heard he was targeted for the position though the grapevine (just like we did) Mickey Loomis projected him as the starter. Talking to his other teammates, you can tell they are happy he will get his chance. Last season, he was the back up center and swing guard. Playing center takes a certain mind set–there is a lot going on including recognizing different defensive alignments and being in rhythm with Brees. In college, he played guard, and guard is his natural position. You can tell from talking to him, he is very excited to get back to his most experienced position and he wants a chance to prove what he can do on the field. Just as he was delighted when he got the call to come to Saints camp as an underrated free agent because the team is in the hunt for a championship each year. He loves to compete, and he loves it here.
If you want to get to know Tim Lelito, ask him about his grandmother. Lelito does a lot of charity work. His big heart for charity began in the small town where he grew up and the community that helped raise him. However, his grandmother had the biggest influence on him and instilled in him a desire to give back through her example. His grandfather continues the tradition of giving back now that she is gone. Although his grandmother was the disciplinarian, she taught him to cook and was a tender care giver. But make no mistake he was a typical boy growing up. He likes to focus his efforts on helping children especially those that are underprivileged. He wants to be a part of helping children learn and grow especially back home in Michigan. His degree is physical education with an emphasis on Sports Management and Leadership.
What is one of his biggest wishes? He would like to wear number 51 because he carried the number in high school and college. As we all know, number of 51 for the Saints is considered a big deal. You have to bring an aggressive attitude to earn the jersey number. Jon Vilma and Sam Mills wore 51. Lelito sees himself as an aggressive offensive player. I think he likes the swag it brings. He remains friends with linebacker Dan Skuta who also hails from Grand Valley State. And while Dan Skuta may bring attitude on the defense, Tim Lelito thinks he can bring it on the offense.
On his aggressiveness, Akiem Hicks chimed in. Hicks knew Lelito would make the team from his very first practice with him because Lelito has an amazing grip strength. Hicks told me if Tim can get you into his “frame,” it is likely he will dominate the play. Lelito said they scheme around who they will have to double team along the offensive line. It is a sign of respect in the pass game when the offensive line has to double team a defensive player but in the run game, there is a different dynamic because of blocking assignments.