METAIRIE, La. — The one thing you must know about Chris Ivory is that he doesn’t harbor ill will towards the Saints for shipping him to the New York Jets.
He understands that the Saints’ backfield was full, that carries and playing time were going to be hard to come by.
So Sunday, when the Saints (6-1) play at New York (4-4), Ivory won’t be any more motivated than he would any other week.
“I wasn’t upset at all. It was an opportunity for me to come over here,” Ivory said. “They still have five running backs. They’re still playing just three. It was just crowded. I think (Saints coach Sean Payton) knew coming in there were too many backs to let me sit around. Time was going by.”
In 24 games over three seasons with New Orleans, Ivory rushed for 1,307 yards and eight touchdowns. He has three of the four most recent 100-yard games by a Saints running back.
But he was an oft-injured running back, missing time in each of his three years with an assortment of injuries, including hamstring problems. That followed to New York, where he missed time during preseason with a hamstring injury.
It’s something he knows, and has always known, that he has to be aware of.
“It’s something I really have to stay on top of,” Ivory said. “That’s what I’ve been trying to do. Every day after practice I have to do something to make sure it stays loose.”
Ivory was inactive for one game already this season in New York, but is still second on the team with 230 yards rushing. Against New England in a win on Oct. 20, Ivory went for 104 yards.
New Orleans knows what he’ll bring into Sunday’s game.
“You’re definitely going to have to put your pads on this week and have to get population to the football,” Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “You don’t want to leave just one person to tackle him.”
Added Payton, “Chris is an outstanding back who is physical and someone who gets downhill and runs with a lot of power. That will be important for us to be able to handle, especially on the road.”
Ivory has enjoyed the second lease on life, the new opportunity the Jets are giving him to prove he’s an NFL running back.
That’s something he wouldn’t have gotten in New Orleans with Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram, among others, entrenched on the roster.
“It’s another phase, another part of my career,” Ivory said. “I’m going to be here for three years and I’m looking to be productive.”