Saints: Coach Sean Payton Says FB Heath Evans Will Not Return
By Keith Null
The New Orleans Saints have a made a slew of roster moves over the last few weeks as the NFL entered into an abbreviated off-season that bunched training camp, and free agency, into a roughly four week span.
General manager Mickey Loomis and contract guru Khai Hartley have done a phenomenal job at retaining key players — Roman Harper, Lance Moore, Jermon Bushrod — but some have slipped through the cracks.
Center Jonathan Goodwin was swayed to sign with San Francisco 49ers in free agency after they offered him a three year contract worth over ten million dollars that the Saints would not match.
They later added ex-Bear center Olin Kreutz to replace Goodwin, and most feel Kruetz is actually an upgrade, so the adage of “addition by subtraction” seems appropriate.
For months though rumors have swirled around the return of full back Heath Evans to the team for a third consecutive season.
Evans joined in free agency by way of the Patriots to replace Mike Karney in 2009 and immediately contributed to the offense rushing for a touchdown and catching two more in the Saints first six games, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Miami Dolphins and was placed on IR.
In 2010 Evans was used sparingly at best last season in the offense, appearing in all sixteen games and registering only one touchdown to go along with just a few carries and receptions.
Now a free agent he never stood much of a chance at returning to the team. A fan favorite, Evans loss should not make an impact on the team. Head coach Sean Payton confirmed the teams plan was not to re-singn him during his press conference yesterday.
"Right now, that would be something that would be accurate. I’ve talked with Heath and I think the plan for us, not only with Korey but if you watch Jed (Collins) I think he is playing real well. Those two are competing at that spot and we have a young player with (Kolby) Hurt that is getting reps. We are three deep right now and we are comfortable with that depth and who’s here right now. I don’t expect us, anytime soon, to look outside the building."
As mentioned above the Saints have three full back’s on the roster competing to become the teams next starter. Early indications are that Korey Hall, signed away from the Packers, is the front runner to secure the starting position in 2011.
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