By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
The Saints drafted Kenny Duckett in the third round (68th overall) in the 1982 NFL draft. When Duckett was in the 10th grade he was diagnosed with diabetes. He continued to play football despite warnings from his doctors, problems maintaining weight and his healing capacity being affected by his illness. As a senior running back, he rushed for over 900 yards and scored 20 touchdowns, receiving All-state, All-American and Winston-Salem Player of the Year honors. He finished his high school career with over 2,000 total yards and 20 touchdowns. He also played baseball and basketball. As a senior in baseball, he received All-conference, All-American, Player of the Year honors and was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Duckett went to Wake Forest University and made a position change from running back to wide receiver his freshman year. Even though he battled injuries throughout his college career, he still managed to finish third on the school's All-time receiving list with 108 receptions for 1,507 yards and 19 touchdowns, 62 kick-offs returns for 1,251 yards and 27 punt returns for 212 yards. At the time he set school records for most kickoff returns (62), most touchdown receptions in a season (12) and most career touchdown receptions (19).
Duckett (Nicknamed "E.T." because of his long fingers), totaled 34 receptions in 36 games for the Saints, from the start of the 1982 season until his release, one game into the 1985 season. He finished his time with the Saints with 503 receiving yards, to go along with four touchdowns. He also finished with 64 kick-off returns for 1,338 yards. He finished his career in 1985 after playing in only three games with the Dallas Cowboys who signed him as a free agent.
Duckett contributed extensively to the Forsyth Chapter of the American Diabetes Association. In 1993, he started suffering from kidney failure as a result of his diabetes condition. On April 15, 1998, he was found dead at his home at the age of 38, due to renal failure.
(Some info contributed by Wikipedia)