Saints’ Drew Brees says watching Darren Sproles leave was tough

For Drew Brees, seeing former teammate Darren Sproles get traded from New Orleans to Philadelphia was one of the “tougher” things he’s had to process as a pro football player, the Saints quarterback said in an interview with Fox Sports and USA Today published Tuesday.

“I think a Darren Sproles only comes around once in your lifetime, in my career and in everybody’s career,” Brees said in Orlando at the NFL Players Association player rep meetings, via Fox Sports’ Mike Garafolo.

“There may be another one 15, 20 years from now. But there’s not many guys like Darren Sproles. He’s a special player, he’s a special person, he’s a special teammate.”

The Saints traded Sproles for a fifth-round draft pick Thursday.

He had played as a rookie fourth-round draft pick with Brees in San Diego in 2005, but then the quarterback signed with the Saints in free agency for the 2006 season.

In 2011, Brees and Sproles worked out together during the NFL lockout, and the quarterback told Garafolo he helped recruit him to New Orleans.

Sproles soon signed a four-year, $14 million deal with New Orleans.

In his first year with the Saints, Sproles — a rushing, receiving and kick-return threat — set an NFL single-season record with 2,696 all-purpose yards.

However, his production dropped in each of the next two seasons. Sproles had 1,577 all-purpose yards in 2012. In 2013, he had 1,273 all-purpose yards, a drop of 53 percent from what he had in 2011.

The Saints then traded Sproles.

“I’m lucky to have had the chance to play with him on two teams,” Brees reportedly said about Sproles to Garafolo.

Morgan re-signs

Hours after agreeing Tuesday to enter a diversion program in relation to a DWI case he’s facing, free-agent wide receiver Joe Morgan re-signed with the Saints, whom he’s been a part of the past three seasons.

Morgan’s new contract is for one year, the Saints announced.

The team did not disclose the terms.

Morgan missed the 2011 and 2013 campaigns because of preseason, year-ending knee injuries. But in 2012, he caught 10 passes for 379 yards and three touchdowns.

His 37.9 yards per catch easily would have been the most in the NFL if he would have had enough grabs to qualify to be ranked in the category. So it’s obvious the Saints believe he’s got the potential to re-establish himself in 2014 as a bona fide deep threat.

Morgan was arrested on suspicion of driving drunk in Metairie on May 25. He pleaded not guilty in September to charges of first-offense DWI and having no driver’s license.

On Tuesday morning, Morgan indicated in a Jefferson Parish courtroom that he’d work to complete the requirements of a diversion program, which typically offers young defendants facing nonviolent charges monitoring and social services such as counseling as an alternative to undergoing a trial.

Technically, the DWI case against Morgan was dismissed after the court denied a joint request for a continuance on the player’s trial date, which had been set for Tuesday.

Prosecutors, though, can reinstitute the case against Morgan if they have to at a later time.

Ex-Buc Lorig joining

Erik Lorig, a free-agent fullback who recently visited the Saints after spending four seasons with Tampa Bay, has reached terms on a four-year contract with New Orleans, the team announced Tuesday.

News of Lorig follows the Saints’ decision not to tender a contract offer to Jed Collins, who had been with the Saints since 2011 but was allowed to hit the open market this offseason.

Lorig, who most recently played with the Buccaneers, was seen as one of the best players available in free agency at his position.

He has been praised for blocking well for a Tampa Bay rushing attack that gained more than 100 yards per contest despite losing its best running back, Doug Martin, to a season-ending shoulder injury six games into 2013.