METAIRIE -- One of the Saints best locker room presences is back, and Sean Payton couldn’t be happier.

“It was fantastic to see (Michael Mauti) being healthy,” Payton said.

At his Training Camp opening Press Conference, Payton said he’s kept up with Mauti since he had to leave the team with Ulcerative Colitis, an extremely painful inflammatory bowel disease.

“I promised him when he left for the surgery, that we’d work him out when he was healthy," Payton said. "And two of three different times during the summer, I’d get these video clips sent to me. It was him doing power cleans, him doing this, him doing that.”

Mauti never let his disease derail his NFL dream and once he was healthy again, the Saints re-signed him.

“It was an easy decision,” Payton said. “He went through a workout the other day for us. I already knew he would pass it based on the videos he was sending me.”

Mauti played his high school football at Mandeville High, before following in this father’s footsteps to Penn State. Rich Mauti was a great special teams player for the Saints from 1977-1983. Michael Mauti was the Saints Special Teams Captain last year, and with Dannell Ellerbe out for the season, there’s a clear path for Mauti to make the Saints roster this summer again.

“It’s good to have him back and to have him back healthy,” Payton said.