Even though the New Orleans Saints weren’t required to turn in a practice report Tuesday when they started preparing for Saturday’s divisional playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, injured cornerback Keenan Lewis said he’ll be ready to go.
Lewis said he participated in Tuesday’s practice after suffering a concussion while tackling Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant during the wild-card game on Saturday night.
Lewis left with 3:06 to play in the third quarter of the Saints’ 26-24 victory and was checked out in accordance with the NFL’s concussion protocol.
A five-year veteran, Lewis was seen pleading with trainer Scottie Patton on the sideline to return to the game after having his helmet taken away from him — a common practice when a player suffers a head injury.
“(It was) definitely frustrating,” Lewis said. “When the game’s on the line like that, you want to be out there (for) any chance you can to make a big play for your team.”
While he still must be cleared by an independent physician later this week before being allowed to play in a game, Lewis was back on the field Tuesday.
“It felt good having an opportunity to prepare for a big game like this. … I’ll be ready to go,” he said.
Saints coach Sean Payton will issue his first practice report following Wednesday’s workout, which will include how much work Lewis participated in.
Haralson goes to IR
While the news was positive for Lewis, it was just the opposite for Saints linebacker Parys Haralson.
Haralson tore his pectoral muscle while making a tackle on Avant on Saturday night and was put on injured reserve after having surgery Tuesday.
Haralson, who was acquired from the San Francisco 49ers for a late-round draft pick in August when Will Smith suffered a torn ACL, had 31/2 sacks for the Saints. He becomes the eighth defensive player the Saints were counting on to be lost for the season — joining Smith and fellow linebackers Jonathan Vilma and Victor Butler, cornerbacks Jabari Greer and Patrick Robinson, safety Kenny Vaccaro, and defensive end Kenyon Coleman.
More roster moves
The Saints cut safety Isa Abdul-Quddus, a three-year veteran, and signed safety Jordan Pugh and linebacker Rufus Johnson to the active roster.
Pugh is a four-year NFL veteran who was with the Washington Redskins earlier this season, while Johnson, a sixth-round draft pick of the Saints this spring, was promoted from their practice squad.
Linebacker Vic So’oto was signed to take Johnson’s spot on the practice squad.
As they do when they play a road game outdoors, the Saints practiced on their grass fields Tuesday with the temperature hovering around 34 with the wind chill in the mid-20s.
When they stepped out into the cold, they found the Seahawks logo painted at midfield of their two fields they use.
“We are just trying to create the exact environment, the crowd noise, the field, everything, as best as we can,” Payton said.
New Orleans-area auto dealer Ronnie Lamarque wants to make sure fans all over the city are coming together to support the Saints for the matchup with the Seahawks.
Beginning Wednesday, Lamarque will have a plane flying over the area for two hours each morning and afternoon towing a banner that reads “BELIEVE.”
According to a news release, the flights over the metro area will include passes over the Saints practice facility during their afternoon workouts.