Lofton, Hawthorne participate in practice
METAIRIE — The New Orleans Saints got some good news Thursday when linebackers Curtis Lofton and David Hawthorne had full participation in practice for the first time since being injured in an Aug. 17 exhibition game with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Lofton, who had a sprained left ankle, and Hawthorne, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Aug. 20, were expected to play in Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Washington Redskins after working on a limited basis Wednesday, interim coach Aaron Kromer said.
The fact that they were able to be full-go Thursday may be an indication that Lofton will be able to start in the middle with Hawthorne on the weak side as they did in the first three preseason games.
Wide receiver Marques Colston, who was held out of Wednesday’s practice with a sore left foot, worked on a limited basis Thursday. Cornerback Jabari Greer, who continues to come back from sports hernia surgery, was also limited. But both should play against the Redskins.
Wide receiver Adrian Arrington and tackle Marcel Jones, who both have knee injuries, did not practice Thursday.
Kromer said Arrington, who had his right knee scoped on Aug. 13, had some soreness after working fully Wednesday and was held out. Jones was hurt on the final play of team drills while serving on the scout squad and was being evaluated by the trainers and doctors, Kromer said.
Walker makes it
Defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker, a New Iberia native who played his college ball at Tulsa, didn’t come to the Saints with high expectations of making the team when he was signed after the draft in April.
But after leading the team with three sacks in the preseason, the 6-foot-3, 294-pounder who started training camp as a fourth-teamer earned a spot on the 53-man roster when the final cuts were made last Friday.
“All I tried to do was work hard and keep doing what (the coaches) told me to do,” said Walker, a graduate of Westgate High School.
“I just kind of let those things like getting cut or staying with the team take care of themselves. Good players stand out, and that’s how I tried to feel about the situation. I just try to come in every day and work hard.”
Walker didn’t get the good news until after a team meeting when defensive line coach Bill Johnson pulled him aside and told him that he was a part of the team.
Yet, Walker knows his spot may be tenuous since veteran defensive end Will Smith is serving a four-game suspension for his role in the bounty scandal. When Smith returns, the Saints will have to make a move to open up a roster spot for him.
“Will’s going to be down for a while, but I don’t worry about numbers,” said Walker. “He’s going to come back and be great for us. I’ll just work hard and give it my best and everything else will take care of itself.”
After being one of only three NFL teams to not lose a game at home last season, the Saints will take a franchise-record eight-game winning streak in the Superdome into Sunday’s matchup with the Redskins.
The winning streak is actually nine when you throw in the Saints’ NFC wild-card playoff win over the Detroit Lions last January.
The Saints have four consecutive winning seasons in the Superdome, the first time that’s happened since 1989-92.
Evans raffling ring
Former Saints fullback Heath Evans is raffling off his Super Bowl XLIV ring to raise money for the Celebration Hope Center, a Metairie-based organization that helps victims of childhood sexual abuse.
The ring, which is worth around $10,000, includes 16 diamonds around the face and 44 diamonds around the outside.
Tickets are $2 each with a minimum purchase of five tickets required. Tickets can be purchased at www.healingheartsnola.org until Sept. 17 at noon.
A limited number of tickets for Sunday’s game are available for purchase as a result of the Redskins returning a portion of their allotment.
Visit the team’s website at www.NewOrleansSaints.com for more information.