METAIRIE, La. ― Mark Bradley took off at the snap of the ball Friday morning, running a short route during individual passing drills.
Everything was excellent until the next moment when Bradley dropped his first pass of training camp.
Not the start he was looking for after the Saints signed the sixth-year wide receiver to a one-year contract following a Thursday workout.
But he recovered to finish with a good practice and after being cut by Tampa Bay this offseason, he needs to have many more like it if he wants to even have a remote chance of making the Saints’ roster.
He was cut on June 16 and took nearly a month and a half to sign on with a team.
“It’s business,” Bradley said. “You don’t know how long it’ll take. You’ve got a lot of situations that can happen. Injuries is just one part of the game and it allows you to get into a camp and show different teams what you’ve got, what you’ve got in store and what you’re capable of. Once you get that opportunity, you seize it.”
Bradley (6-foot-1, 201 pounds) was drafted in the second round by the Chicago Bears and also has played for Kansas City and the Buccaneers. He has 92 career catches for 1,283 yards and nine touchdowns.
He certainly impressed Head Coach Sean Payton during his tryout.
“He ran pretty well and we thought the caught the ball well,” Payton said. “The key is getting him acclimated quickly. But he did work out well and he has got some experience and is more of a veteran player.”
He’ll have to fight for a spot, however. The Saints are deep at receiver with Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem and Lance Moore all but assured of a spot. Courtney Roby is the fifth receiver right now and he does so much on special teams that that’s where Bradley would have to make his mark.
Bradley does have experience on special teams, saying that’s how he made his way into the league. He has returned 11 kickoffs for 193 yards.
“That’s part of the game,” Bradley said. “If you’re not in the starting two or three positions on certain teams, you’ve got to play special teams. Get your mind right for it.”
The former Oklahoma receiver was scheduled to have tryouts for other teams, but took his visit with the Saints first. It paid off in the form of a one-year contract.
“It’s a little exciting when a Super Bowl team calls you on the phone,” Bradley said. “That was a little more exciting than a lot of other situations. They’ve got great situations here and I’m looking forward to it.”