At the outset of training camp in late July, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton said the team would be cautious with wide receiver Marques Colston during his recovery from a foot injury.
The danger of irritating the foot was too big of a risk for the Saints, who put Colston on the physically-unable-to-perform list at the start of camp.
It was an easy move to make considering they already know what they have in Colston: an eight-year veteran who needs one catch and 451 receiving yards to become the franchise’s all-time leader in both categories.
Colston, 30, sat out the first nine practices and returned for four before missing five more practices and both preseason games. But he worked in pads Monday and again Tuesday.
“I was just trying to be cautious and take my time knowing that we have a long season to play, just making sure that I am 100 percent ready to go when I get out here full-time,” Colston said.
Colston, who has 532 catches for 7,394 yards and a club-record 58 TDs, admitted he’s not 100 percent yet. But he hopes to be when his quest for a seventh 1,000-yard receiving season begins Sept. 8 against the Atlanta Falcons.
“Probably not at this point,” he said when asked if he was 100 percent. “But that’s OK, I’m working towards it. I still have a couple of weeks yet, so again, I’m taking my time with it.”
After politely declining to talk about his offseason surgery, Colston said he didn’t know how many reps he’ll need to be ready for the regular season.
“That’s up to the guys (coaches) upstairs,” said Colston, who may not take a snap in the preseason games. “I just come in and do what they ask of me.”
While watching a lot of practice sessions from the sideline, Colston has been able to see the competition among the younger wide receivers on the roster.
Before Joe Morgan was lost for the season with a knee injury, he was vying with Nick Toon and Kenny Stills to be the third wideout behind Colston and Lance Moore. Andy Tanner and Preston Parker also have had solid camps.
“They show up. … They have been making a ton of plays,” Colston said. “You see it on the practice field day-in and day-out, but once that translates over to a game, that’s big-time. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing what those guys can bring to the offense.
“It’s always good to see those guys have an opportunity.”
Like Colston, cornerback Patrick Robinson hasn’t played in the first two preseason games as he continues to come back from arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-June.
Robinson also started out on the PUP list, but re-joined his teammates on the field on Aug. 5.
Payton said Robinson, who has been working with the second-team defense in limited team drills, had one of his better practices of the season Tuesday.
“I would say (it was) the first time where you saw him getting a lot of team work,” Payton said. “He was very active and moved around pretty well.”
Payton said there was nothing new to report on inside linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who had his knee scoped last Thursday and likely won’t play until the regular season.
“(There’s) nothing yet. … I’ll keep you posted,” Payton said. “We’re rehabbing him; everything is going well. We’re just being smart and we’re optimistic. We’re just going to keep working the rehabs and go from there.”
The Saints had another linebacker miss a practice Tuesday when Will Herring didn’t participate.
Herring is the eighth linebacker among the 15 the Saints brought to camp to miss at least one practice. The others are Vilma, Curtis Lofton, Junior Galette, Martez Wilson, Chris Chamberlain, Eric Martin and Ray Shipman.
Cornerback A.J. Davis, who was waived/injured Monday, cleared waivers and reverted back to injured reserve. Davis, who was injured Friday night against Oakland, will likely be waived when he’s healthy.
Two of the other seven players the Saints released Monday were claimed off waivers as guard Ricky Henry was picked up by Kansas City and linebacker Chase Thomas was awarded to Oakland.
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