METAIRIE -- Lance Moore and Pierre Thomas sat side-by-side on Thursday, just like they did at their lockers during their playing days with the New Orleans Saints.

But this time, they weren't wearing Saints jerseys.

Instead they were wearing gold polo shirts with the words "Saints Hall of Fame" embroidered on them, the exclamation mark on two solid careers.

It's a shirt that neither of the Saints' newest Hall of Fame inductees ever would have ever imagined wearing when their pro careers first began.

Thomas admits he would've likely given you a word not suitable to be printed if you had told him 11 years ago he would land in the Saints' Hall of Fame.

Moore echoed similar sentiments.

"I probably would have said 'you're crazy,'" Moore said. "But sitting here today, I'm not surprised by it. My mentality was just to work hard and once the opportunity presented itself, make the most of it. There was a time I didn't think I was going to get the opportunity."

But they did, making the most of it: Moore as a receiver and Thomas as a do-it-all running back.

Both look like they could still suit up and play today, despite there once being a time when many thought they weren't quite good enough.

Neither one of them had their names called in the NFL Draft.

Moore went undrafted in 2005 out of Toledo. Two years later, Thomas went through the same thing coming out of Illinois.

"It kinda hurt to see teams go past and not see some of the talent that's really out there," Thomas said. "It's crazy how everything happened and me just getting the opportunity."

Neither let the disappointments of their respective draft nights deter them.

The Saints took a chance on them, and they both delivered.

Thomas, who played with the Saints from 2007-2014, ranks fifth on the team's career rushing list with 3,745 yards. He led the Saints in rushing in 2008, 2009 and 2013. In 2016, he was named to the All Saints 50th Team as one of the 50 greatest players in franchise history.

Moore, meanwhile, ranks fifth in team history in receptions (346), seventh in receiving yards (4,281) and fifth in receiving touchdowns (38). Moore led the Saints in receiving yards in 2008. He played with the team from 2005-2013.

But it wasn't just those numbers that impressed their coach.

"They are like identical players in different positions," Sean Payton said. "You're going to hear the same things from me (about both of them). Reliability, smart, tough, clutch. They are the epitome of what we were looking for as we began to build in '06 a playoff team and later in '09 a Super Bowl team . If you began to assemble some key pieces to what led to a Super Bowl but also key puzzle pieces that were important for our community, both of these two individuals would be at the foundation."

Payton appreciates that two of the key pieces of his offense made it without taking the conventional route.

"These guys didn't start on third base," Payton said. "They had to touch all the bases."

Moore and Thomas were teammates, but "more like brothers."

They both grew up in the midwest: Moore in Westerville, Ohio and Thomas in Chicago.

Neither were going to be denied.

Thomas drove from Chicago to New Orleans for training camp, determined he'd stick with the team. Moore was just as determined.

"Everything worth doing is worth working for," Moore said. "I don't want to ever be somebody who gets caught in complacency and let the next man beat me and surpass me. That (mentality) epitomizes a lot of people in New Orleans. Blue collar, hard workers and seizing opportunity."

That mindset led them both to the Hall of Fame, where they will be officially inducted during a formal ceremony at Club XLIV on September 14 and then a public recognition on September 16 during the Saints' home game against the Cleveland Browns.

Michael Hebert, the Saints' director of photography, will also be honored as recipient of the Joe Gemeli "Fleur de Lis" Award. That award goes to someone who has contributed to the team. Hebert, heading into his 22nd season with the team, is responsible for the many pictures that hang in the Saints practice facility.

Some of his most memorable work, of course, came from the Super Bowl XLIV, a season that Thomas and More both played major roles.

Moore gets goosebumps just talking about the Super Bowl.

Thomas choked up a bit Thursday, particularly when talking about a particular Super Bowl photo of he and the late Will Smith, his good friend.

"It was an amazing journey," Thomas said. "It's something I will never forget."

He was referring to the Super Bowl run, but he very well could have been talking about the NFL career of his and the guy sitting beside him.

Two amazing journeys.

Two unforgettable careers.

Their coach surely would agree.

"When you ask what we're looking for in a football player, we're looking for what's sitting right next to me," Payton said.