METAIRIE — New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joseph Morgan practiced Thursday with his teammates, one day after news broke of his weekend arrest for drunken driving.
Early Saturday morning, Morgan, a third-year pro, was found sleeping behind the wheel of his car with a flat tire near the intersection of Earhart Expressway and North Causeway Boulevard in Jefferson Parish, according to a State Police spokesperson.
Morgan performed poorly on field sobriety tests and his blood-alcohol content registered 0.218 percent, nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08.
After Thursday’s organized team activity, the only one open to media this week, Saints coach Sean Payton addressed Morgan’s charges for the first time and said it was a lesson learned for Morgan and his teammates.
Payton stopped short of saying whether Morgan will face disciplinary action.
“I just think each team is faced with it at some point, hopefully less than more,” Payton said. “It is what it is in regards to the lesson. You hope the other players, including Joe, learn from it.
“It’s our job to keep re-enforcing the importance of being smart, making the right decisions. It’s something we’ve really tried to pride ourselves in since we began here in ’06.”
Morgan was not present during the team’s open locker room period for reporters.
The Saints will open three of their five minicamp practices to the public next week, the team announced Thursday.
The three-day full-squad minicamp begins Tuesday at the team’s training facility at 5800 Airline Drive in Metairie. The public is invited to attend the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday practices set for 10:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Payton will also hold practices on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, but those sessions will be closed to the public.
In the event of inclement weather, the team may move practice indoors with little or no advance warning. Fans attending any open practice will not be allowed inside the indoor facility, due to space limitations.
There is no admission charge and gates will open to the public at 9:30 a.m. each day. Parking will be available in the Zephyr Field parking lot just west of the Saints practice facility.
For the second week in a row, the Saints coaching staff experimented by mixing and matching different players in with the first- and second-team offenses and defenses.
Last week, Payton said they were going to rotate players with the top three offensive and defensive units in the OTAs to get a better look at them in different situations.
New starters on Thursday from a week ago were Jabari Greer at left cornerback and Corey White at right corner in place of Keenan Lewis and Patrick Robinson, respectively, and third-round draft pick Terron Armstead at left tackle in place of Jason Smith.
Saints inside linebacker Jonathan Vilma was one of three players who didn’t practice in the OTA open to the media last week who were on the field Thursday.
Vilma, who played weakside linebacker last season when he returned from a knee injury that sidelined him for the first six games, worked with the first-team defense alongside Curtis Lofton in the Saints’ new 3-4 scheme.
Defensive end Kenyon Coleman and tackle Charles Brown were also back.
Starting free safety Malcolm Jenkins, who finished the 2012 season on injured reserve with a hamstring problem, was limited again Thursday as was inside linebacker David Hawthorne.
Tight end Benjamin Watson didn’t participate in practice again, but Payton said he’ll be fine although he didn’t disclose the nature of his injury.
One of the best plays of Thursday’s practice came in team drills when a deep pass by Seneca Wallace for wide receiver Saalim Hakim was broken up at the last second by cornerback Rod Sweeting.
Sweeting got a hand on the ball and tipped it into the air and safety Kenny Vaccaro pulled it in even though he wasn’t able to tap his feet down inbounds for an interception.
Gary Estwick contributed to this report.
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