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Alumni Highlight: New Orleans Saints' Darnell Sankey

NFL New Orleans Saints’ Darnell Sankey


New Orleans Saints’ linebacker Darnell Sankey has his roots in Cambrian School District. Growing up in the area, he attended Fammatre, Price, and graduated from Branham High School in 2012. Sankey has fond memories of Cambrian, including playing basketball and football inside the gym at Price on rainy days. In fact, he played on Price’s basketball team for three years, but didn’t start playing football on an organized team until his junior year in high school. He eventually received a football scholarship to Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in communications. 

Sankey’s favorite Cambrian teacher? Deborah Stein. “I used to be a troubled kid in her class,” Sankey said, admitting that he was immature and kept to himself.  “She molded me. She has a heart that explodes outside of her.” Actually, Sankey has fond memories of lots of Cambrian teachers, noting “the teachers are genuine—they care about their students there.”

His football career has taken him to eight NFL teams in two years—the Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, and now the New Orleans Saints. He is in his second season with the Saints. When he eventually retires from the NFL, Sankey plans to become a fire fighter. “The best thing about playing in the NFL is living out your childhood dream, competing against the best competition every day.” He also enjoys the public service aspect of the profession, being involved in local charities and non-profits. Sankey’s credits his faith with where he is today. “I don’t know where I’d be without faith,” he says, adding the rigor of training and uncertainty of being cut from a team is challenging. “It’s a lot…training camp, meetings, training, making the roster…you gotta really love football to play in this league. It’s a journey, but it’s what I want to do.”