Tanner continues quest to make Saints

WR faces long odds in fifth training camp

“They’re going to have to drag me out of this building kicking and screaming. I have a no-quit mentality.” ANDY TANNER, Saints wide receiver

In franchise history, there may be no one better at taking “no’’ for an answer than New Orleans Saints wide receiver Andy Tanner, who’s been cut/released/waived more often than he cares to remember.

His biography in the team’s media guide reflects 34 transactions of here today, gone tomorrow and brought back again since May 2010.

Until now, the diminutive 26-year-old from Rockwall, Texas, has remained steadfast in trying to reach his goal of playing in the NFL. To date, he has not played in a regular season game. In July, he will participate in his fifth training camp with the Saints, and the chances of him making the opening-game roster appear to be slim.

In his mind, that’s all the chance he needs.

“I know this can be the end or the beginning of my career right here,’’ he said after the last of five minicamp practices Thursday. “This is the year. I’m ready for either way. I hope it can be staying here.’’

The Saints conclude their offseason program Thursday with the last of 10 Organized Team Activities. Wednesday’s on-field work will be open to the media but closed to the public.

On July 24, when the team reconvenes for training camp in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, Tanner will resume his quest in earnest to make the 53-man roster.

“Andy’s unselfish and is willing to do whatever it takes to help the team out,’’ Saints wide receivers coach Henry Ellard said. “He’s been doing that the last four years. It’s all about the team for him. He’s going to do whatever it takes to help the team win.

“A lot of times we’ll bring in other competition, but the thing about Andy is the consistency in which he does things. That’s what separates him from everybody else. You get a guy who could come in and is very talented but if he’s inconsistent the advantage goes to Andy.’’

Ellard said Tanner knows all the receiver positions and the quarterbacks trust him implicitly.

“He can do it all,’’ Ellard said. “He can line up anywhere. You love those kind of players. That’s what kind of kept him around and why he’s done a great job for us. Look at last year — he scored two touchdowns in a preseason game against Houston. He did a great job for us. it’s a matter of opportunity and his number getting called. He’s somebody you can rely on day in and day out. When somebody goes down, you can plug him in and you keep right on moving.’’

Tanner actually made the Saints roster heading into the 2013 season.

But after being inactive for Week 1, he was waived to make room for linebacker Jay Richardson after the Saints sustained several defensive injuries against the Atlanta Falcons.

Tanner (6 feet, 183 pounds) spent the rest of the season on the practice squad.

“I’ll keep trying until I know its over, and they’re going to have to tell me it’s over,’’ he said. “They’re going to have to drag me out of this building kicking and screaming. I have a no-quit mentality. That’s been one of my mottoes. You set a goal and go for it and don’t quit.

“ ‘No’ just makes for a better ‘yes.’ ”

Though Tanner remains optimistic, he also understands that he’s getting older and the competition is getting younger; for example, 20-year-old rookie speedster Brandin Cooks, a first-round selection who theoretically replaces departed veteran Lance Moore on the depth chart.

Coincidentally, Tanner returned to school this offseason and earned his undergraduate degree in accounting at Midwestern State (Texas) University.

“I have given post-football a thought,’’ Tanner said. “But I can see myself doing this as long as my body will allow it and as long as the team will keep me. You know when you get further along in your career. You can probably tell when you’re starting to wear down.

“But I’m not anywhere near that.’’