Bradley Handwerger, Garland Gillen and Juan Kincaid / Eyewitness Sports
NEW ORLEANS ―A group of more than 35 players affiliated with the Saints worked out together at Tulane University’s practice football field Tuesday morning, of of the first unofficial workouts since the lockout began in early March.
The workout, set up by quarterback Drew Brees, was an attempt to replicate as closely as possible the normal offseason program the players would be going through were the NFL not locking its players out.
Teams are not allowed official offseason workouts or practices until either a new collective bargaining agreement is attained or the 8th Circuit Court refuses to lengthen its stay of Judge Susan Nelson’s ruling that temporarily ended the lockout last week.
Players are barred from facilities and are not allowed to talk with coaches about football while in lockout.
Still, that 37 players showed up is testament to Brees’ leadership role on the team.
“When Drew calls, you answer the phone,” offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb said.
Among those in attendance were safety Darren Sharper, who came despite being a free agent.
“I’m not worried about my contract situation here,” Sharper said. “Fourteen years in the league. (I’m) not worried.”
He added, “If I didn’t want to play, I wouldn’t be here.”
Players will take every precaution to not get injured during these workouts because they’re not currently covered by the team’s insurance policy.
Besides Brees, Sharper and Stinchcomb, cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod, receivers Devery Henderson and Marques Colston, tight end Jimmy Graham, fullback Heath Evans and cornerback Randall Gay were among those who showed up.
Linebackers Jonathan Vilma and Danny Clark, safety Roman Harper and quarterback Chase Daniel also attended.
Running backs Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas were not at the workout. Neither were receiver Lance Moore; offensive linemen Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks; defensive backs Tracy Porter and Patrick Robinson; defensive linemen Sedrick Ellis, Anthony Hargrove and Alex Brown; and linebackers Scott Shanle and Jonathan Casillas.
As for Bush’s absence, there was no word on whether he would eventually attend or not. But days after Bush tweeted, “It’s been fun New Orleans,” Brees said he understood the running back’s frustration.
Brees told reporters that he feels Bush could be just like Deuce McAllister was for the Saints, a good change-up to running backs Mark Ingram and Thomas.