Saints Find Answer For Loss Of RB Lynell Hamilton By Signing RB Ladell Betts
By Keith Null
The Saints have been weighing their options after the loss of power back Lynell Hamilton who will miss the 2010 season after tearing his ACL last Wednesday ironically during no-contact drills with the Patriots.
Hamilton was having a pretty good camp and was primed to take over Mike Bell’s spots as the primary shorty yardage/goal line running back behind Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas, Bell left for the Eagles after rushing for 654 yards and five touchdowns during the 2009 season.
His loss, as unfortunate as it was, put the Saints in a pretty precarious situation as they had no real depth behind Bush and Thomas except for rookie running back Chris Ivory and second year “rookie” P.J. Hill. Experience was sorely lacking increasing Betts stock with the Saints in an ever increasingly shrinking free agent pool.
The contract Betts agreed to with the Saints is rumored to be a one year deal worth at leat 750K, the Texans, 49ers and Broncos also were pusing Betts before he decided to sign with the current Super Bowl champs.
Betts was a second round pick of the Redskins in 2002 and was released March 4th after head coach Mike Shanahan took over the struggling franchise and stocked it with a bevy of running backs including Willie Parker and Larry Johnson.
Betts had his best season as a pro in 2006 when he rushed for 1,154 yards on 245 carries with four touchdowns after taking over primary rushing responsibilities. He has a carer rushing average of 4.1 ypc.
A true north and south power runner his style matches up well with the Saints needs for a true power back, not seen in their offense since the hay day of the great Deuce McAllister.
He will compete with youngsters Hill and Ivory for the third spot but would have to be considered the favorite to backup Bush/Thomas when the season starts because of his NFL experience.