Since his last NFL game in 2011, wide receiver Patrick Crayton said he spent most of his time raising two children and tending to a number of business interests, including running an athletic mouthpiece company and opening burger restaurants.
Crayton, though, was suddenly practicing with the New Orleans Saints on Monday. He signed a contract following recent injuries to two of the team’s wideouts.
Crayton, 34, said his eight seasons’ worth of prior experience in the NFL is an advantage for him as he competes for a spot on the Saints’ 53-man roster.
“That’s the edge I have over some of the young guys that are still trying to get used to what it takes to be a professional,” Crayton said.
To make room on the roster for Crayton, the Saints waived undrafted rookie Brent Leonard. Leonard had been waived July 30 but re-signed Aug. 5, the same day the Saints acquired another veteran wideout, Steve Breaston.
Crayton, who was with the Dallas Cowboys from 2004 to 2009 and with the San Diego Chargers from 2010 to 2011, played his first two years in the NFL under Coach Sean Payton, when Payton was a member of Coach Bill Parcells’ staff in Dallas from 2003 to 2005.
He joins the Saints after No. 3 wide receiver candidate Joe Morgan suffered a torn meniscus and partially-torn ACL in his left knee. Meanwhile, starter Marques Colston, who missed the first 10 days of training camp with a hurt foot, sat out practices on Sunday and Monday as well as Friday’s preseason opener against the Kansas City Chiefs with an undisclosed injury.
Crayton, among 13 receivers on the active roster at Saints training camp, had his best year in the league in 2007, with 50 receptions for 697 yards and seven touchdowns. He had 23 catches, 248 yards and one touchdown in 2011 before being released by the Chargers, to whom he was traded a year earlier.