Adrian Arrington admitted he’s not fully healed, but practicing anyway—likely a result of loyalty to the New Orleans Saints for keeping him on the roster and fear of losing playing time and possibly his job if he doesn’t perform.
Arrington returned to practice Monday, barely a month after finding out he had a tear in the meniscus of his right knee and going through surgery to repair the damage. His own assessment of his health left a lot to be desired.
“I’m healthy. I practiced,” Arrington said in a WWL TV report. “I did everything today. It’s only been a little over three weeks. I’m not 100 percent, but I’m definitely good enough to be able to play.”
Arrington didn’t play at all during the Saints five preseason games as he recovered from knee surgery, and had to sit and watch Joe Morgan and Courtney Roby explode onto the scene.
Morgan caught 15 passes during preseason games and scored twice on connections from quarterback Chase Daniels. Morgan has big-play capability—proof came from his 53-yard score against Jacksonville—and a new-found versatility at all of the receiver positions to help him get on the field for as many snaps as possible.
If Morgan can solve his issues with dropped passes, he may be able to forge a bond with quarterback Drew Brees.
Roby caught 10 passes for 146 yards over the preseason span, but cooled off after catching nine balls in the Saints first two games. Roby’s roster spot was earned via the return game and the Saints selected him as their special teams captain.
But Roby’s ability to accumulate receptions in spurts—he had four in the Hall of Fame Game and five against New England—could get him reps on offense when the Saints need to spread the ball around.
Enter Arrington who’s had to watch from the sideline, an all too familiar experience from the former seventh-round draft pick.
Arrington’s played in just four games as a pro after spending his first two seasons on the practice squad (2008 and 2009). Over the last two years he’s been buried on the Saints depth chart and amassed just nine receptions.
The 2012 season was supposed to be Arrington’s big break. Robert Meachem left via free agency and Arrington was going to be given every opportunity to earn the fourth spot on New Orleans' depth chart.
Then the meniscus tear appeared.
Even after missing all five preseason games the Saints kept Arrington on the 53-man roster. He told the Times-Picayune that he wasn’t sure he’d be back in a Saints uniform.
"I was a little nervous, but throughout the past couple of weeks from talking to some coaches I could get the sense that they were counting on me to get back and help this team," Arrington said.
Arrington practiced in full Monday and said he’d be ready to play Sunday against Washington. But he may be rushing back too quickly in an attempt to close the gap between he, Morgan and Roby.
If Arrington isn’t 100 percent—and he admitted as much, himself—he risks further aggravation or injury due to over compensation. Would it not be better and take another week, maybe two to get back to 100 percent?
With Morgan and Roby making strides, Arrington seems to not have the luxury of more rehab time.
Wednesday will be a big practice day for Arrington. The Saints had Tuesday off as the team settled into its regular-season schedule. That day of rest could have been huge as Arrington will test his surgically-repaired knee again.
Another full participation day would be a great sign for Arrington, but a better step would be a move towards 100 percent healthy.