Bradley Handwerger / Sports Reporter
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METAIRIE, La. Chris Chamberlain's season ended really before it even had a chance begin in New Orleans.

In the third game of preseason, the veteran linebacker who signed with the Saints as a free agent tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Nearly four and a half months later, Chamberlain believes he's on pace to be ready for New Orleans' offseason workout program.

'I definitely feel when my injury happened and when I was able to have surgery that there's no reason I shouldn't be 100 percent come beginning of offseason workouts and OTAs full speed and definitely be ready to go by training camp,' Chamberlain said recently.

Chamberlain's injury happened in the second quarter on the first play following a Saints turnover of the Aug. 17 game. Chamberlain went down at the end of a running play, writhing in pain.

Defensive back Marquis Johnson immediately waved over trainers for help. Minutes later, Chamberlain was helped off the field.

Once it happened, Chamberlain knew what he was in store for; he had torn the ACL in his right knee in college and was back in six months, missing only one game.

'I'd been through it before so I kind of knew what I was getting into,' Chamberlain said. 'That helped mentally knowing I've overcome it before.'

It was easy, however, sitting on the sideline and watching as the Saints' defense struggled its way through a record-breaking season in which New Orleans allowed more yards than any other team had in team history.

But while he acknowledged the difficulty in the situation, he wouldn't say that he felt he could have helped the team on the field any more than the players already there.

'Who am I to say I could have made a difference?' Chamberlain said. 'I feel the biggest impact I had was in the meeting room before practices and especially during training camp helping with the installs. I feel like I was able to have a good impact and provide some experience and some knowledge there. Whether I could have done anything different on the field, who knows?'

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