NEW ORLEANS ― John Carney walked out of the Saints’ locker room Sunday afternoon, no flashy jewelry on and no expensive suit hanging from his 5-foot-11 frame.
Nothing about him showed off a 3-for-3 performance that included the game-winning points, a 25-yard field goal, in New Orleans’ 16-14 win over Carolina.
Then again, why would you expect any of that from a man who has been in the league 22 seasons and became the third-oldest player to participate in an NFL game. Only George Blanda at 48 and Morten Andersen at 47 were older.
“You can’t take anything for granted,” Carney said. “When you’re young, sometimes you do. You get into a routine and you think, ‘Hey, I’ll be doing this for a long time.’ And you can’t really take this for granted.”
Carney wouldn’t be with the Saints (3-1) if not for Garrett Hartley starting the season out with a less-than-stellar beginning, missing 3 of 7 field goals, including a would-have-been game winner.
While Carney was the Saints’ only active kicker against Carolina, Hartley was still with the team. And Carney being the consummate teacher, he took the time, along with Panthers kicker John Kasay, to talk with Hartley.
“He wanted to encourage Garrett as well,” Carney said. “It was great to get together and talk together the three of us.”
Carney wasn’t the only change in the kicking game. Chase Daniel was the holder on all kicks Sunday. Thomas Morstead pulled that duty for the opening three games of the season.
Head Coach Sean Payton said the move wasn’t an indictment of Morstead, however.
“His holds were good,” Payton said. “I just wanted to shake it up.”
But it was all about Carney on Sunday and the Saints needed every point he gave them.
Not a bad beginning for the veteran.
“I feel very blessed and fortunate,” Carney said. “If I was coaching or playing and kicking extra points and field goals, we’ll take the win and move on from there.”