Wide receiver Marques Colston was added to the physically unable to perform list Thursday, which means the eight-year veteran won’t be on the field for the Saints’ first training camp practice Friday.
Saints coach Sean Payton said Colston has a foot injury but should return within a week. Rookie receiver Kenny Stills, a fifth-round draft pick, should be able to practice soon after being put on the PUP list with a wrist injury.
Earlier this week, the Saints put strong safety Roman Harper, linebacker Victor Butler and cornerback Patrick Robinson on the PUP list, which means they can’t practice until they pass a physical.
Butler tore his ACL in one of the team’s final offseason workouts, and Payton said Robinson had arthroscopic knee surgery this spring. Harper is recovering from sports hernia surgery.
Payton expects Harper to be ready, soon and he said they’ll monitor Robinson weekly although General Manager Mickey Loomis said it may be late in the preseason before he’s full go.
Payton said he and Loomis looked at the situation with Butler, who was projected to be the starting strongside linebacker, but decided against bringing someone in for training camp.
“We looked closely at it, and yet we weren’t going to sign someone just to sign someone,” Payton said. “No one special is going to come flying (through) the doors from here on out.”
Payton said they’ll try to develop some of their younger players — including third-year pro Martez Wilson, who backed up Butler during offseason workouts.
Back in the saddle
After serving a season-long bounty-related suspension in 2012, Payton will call offensive plays this season for the first time since breaking his leg in an Oct. 16, 2011, game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Payton handed play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. for the rest of that season, and Carmichael held the job a year ago while Payton was suspended.
Quarterback Drew Brees was pleased to hear Payton will do it again, although he said Carmichael did a “phenomenal job.”
“I had Sean Payton in my ear for 51/2 years,” a smiling Brees said. “I’ve got confidence in whomever is calling the plays, but I’m happy to have Sean’s voice in my ear.”
No extension yet
Loomis was asked about contract extension talks with tight end Jimmy Graham, who’s entering the final season of the rookie contract he signed in 2010.
With 215 receptions and 25 touchdowns in his first three seasons, Graham is in line to become the highest-paid tight end in the league.
His next deal likely will surpass the contracts given by the New England Patriots to Rob Gronkowski (eight years, $55.2 million) and former teammate Aaron Hernandez (five years, $40 million).
“I’d rather not get into that. Those are things that we haven’t (talked about in the past),” Loomis said. “We have some guys in the last year of their contract that are important players to our team and have been important players to our team. We’re just going to see how this unfolds these next few weeks — and it is possible.”
Brees said Thursday’s conditioning test was more strenuous than in the past and resembled the CrossFit regimen Payton uses.
“It wasn’t just running or your normal conditioning test,” Brees said. “It was a combination of weights and an exercise shuttle, so it was all-inclusive.
“It was like a 10-minute wrestling match.”