Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Writer
NEW ORLEANS – Surprisingly, undrafted rookie free agent Joe Morgan lined up with the first team punt return unit as the returner.
Maybe even more surprising was his return early in the second quarter.
And it’s one that folks will be talking about at the water cooler Saturday morning.
Morgan took steps forward, cut back to his left and then spun off a tackler.
He then outran San Francisco’s Thaddeus Gibson to the boundary, cutting upfield toward the end zone.
Tip-toeing along the sideline, Morgan then cut back to his right past punter Andy Lee and went untouched the final 20-plus yards into the end zone.
A review didn’t overturn the play, which gave New Orleans a 10-0 lead with 14:03 to go in the first half, and Morgan completed his transition from camp darling to camp prospect.
“I hadn’t done punts since I was a senior in high school,” Morgan said. “It was one of those things where I was just trying to be patient and wait on it.”
Morgan played at Walsh College after transferring from Illinois. As a senior, he had 41 catches for 653 yards and five touchdowns.
The 6-foot-1, 184-pound speedster also was a long-jumper at Walsh.
Morgan, though, has a fight on his hands to try and find a spot on the roster.
Free agent acquisition likely is the main return man for New Orleans while the Saints likely have only one open receiver spot.
But for one night, Morgan owned the building.
He finished with six returns for 107 yards, a 17.8 yard average, to go along with three catches for 21 yards.
“He has exceptional speed and balance,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “He has transitioned well in his first year without any of the offseason.”