METAIRIE, La. ― The Saints will begin training camp Friday with four key players on the active PUP list after they were unable to pass their check-in physicals.
Receivers Marques Colston and Robert Meachem, safety Darren Sharper and linebacker Clint Ingram all are in the final stages of rehabbing from surgeries the team’s brass knew about, General Manager Mickey Loomis said Thursday during a pre-training camp news conference.
The rest of the team reported healthy and passed their physicals, Head Coach Sean Payton said. That includes running back Pierre Thomas, who had been holding out for a long-term contract during the offseason, and newly signed quarterback Patrick Ramsey, whom Payton said reported in better shape than when he worked out for the team originally.
But the news that will likely surprise most was that Colston couldn’t pass a physical because of surgery to his left knee, the same one he had scoped a little more than a year ago.
Payton said it wasn’t a specific play that injured Colston this offseason. Rather, it was nagging soreness that eventually forced him to get it cleaned up again.
“It wasn’t an event, if you will, rather than a period of time where he was still experiencing soreness,” Payton said.
Loomis said, "We expect all these guys to be participating in practice full go prior to the first preseason game," meaning they'd be ready to the Saints' opener against New England on Aug 12. Colston and Ingram are on pace to return by this coming week, Loomis said, though Sharper and Meachem are looking at a slightly longer time frame.
Sharper and Ingram also had surgery on their left knees while Meachem is nursing a surgically repaired toe on his left foot.
Being on the active PUP list means the players can participate in everything except on-field team work. In other words, meetings and on-field rehabilitation with trainers is their recipe until they’re fully activated.
“You see it around the league,” Payton said. “They’re unable to perform right now or pass a physical. It’s not a tough decision. It’s a very simple one that every team in the league uses.
“It probably took all of six minutes last night in staff meetings as we went through the injury report to look at it and say, ‘Hey, right now we’ve got to put them on PUP because they’ll be unable to participate in team football drills.’ ”
Because they're all named to the active PUP list, they count against the team's limit of 80 players on the roster. The Saints let go of Jason McKie and Earl Heyman to make room and will likely cut at least one more player in the near future as they need to open a spot for first-round pick Patrick Robinson when he signs.