METAIRIE, La. – When Greg Camarillo got his walking papers from the New Orleans Saints on Aug. 31, he figured out pretty quickly what his 2012 NFL season was going to be like.
On a roster one week. Off one another.
For Camarillo, it was the cold, hard truth about his position in the NFL, one that’s a luxury on some rosters and all but insignificant on others.
But in the 1-4 Saints’ lone win this season, the part-time player became relevant, catching four passes for 44 yards, two of which kept drives alive on third downs.
“It felt great, first of all getting a win, and then helping contribute to that win,” Camarillo said. “My job as a guy that comes on and off the roster is to be ready when they need me. I’ve got a chance to fill in and tried to capitalize on it.”
Camarillo, 30, is a 7th-year player out of Stanford with prior experience in Minnesota, Miami and San Diego. His role with those teams, however, was different.
In the past three seasons alone, he played in 45 of 48 games and before coming to New Orleans, had 142 catches for 1,686 yards in his career. He has never averaged less than 11 yards-per-catch for a season.
Still, he hasn’t found his role with the Saints hard to accept.
“No. It’s football. It’s a business,” Camarillo said. “They’ve been honest with me every time I’ve been cut and re-signed. I can just stay ready. That’s all I can do.”
He wasn’t told he would be a week-to-week guy when the Saints dispatched him in the final round of training camp cuts. He knew, however, that if he wasn’t on the roster the first week, that’s the role he’d be playing.
Against San Diego, Camarillo’s role was to help fill in for Lance Moore, who was out with a hamstring injury. He did just that, with three of his catches going for first downs, including two that kept touchdowns drives alive.
Camarillo worked with Saints quarterback Drew Brees this past offseason and he admitted it helped when it came to making the important catches.
“The more you work with a quarterback, the more chemistry you build,” Camarillo said. “Obviously we didn’t work on the specifics of this offense during the summer. … He knows what kind of routes I run and as a receiver, knowing how a quarterback throws the ball gets you that much more prepared to catch it.”