Saints take field, cut some veterans

Published 12:01 am Saturday, July 30, 2011

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Pierre Thomas expressed annoyance at his sloppiness in the Saints’ first practice since the end of the lockout.

The running back, who also is coming back from surgery on his left ankle, fumbled twice in what was considered a non-contact practice.

“I’m kind of down on myself,” Thomas said. “Right now, being one of the leaders, I’ve got to show an example to these younger guys and if I’m out here putting the ball on the ground, that’s not a good example. … So I’m going to be here holding the ball around probably all day and I’ll probably sleep with it tonight.”

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It could have been worse. At least he was on the field.

A number of players who hope to have significant roles this season were unable to practice on Friday because of either their health or contract situations, while a couple former regulars were cut.

Coach Sean Payton confirmed three cuts: cornerback and former LSU standout Randall Gay, long-snapper Jason Kyle and 2009 fourth-round draft choice Stanley Arnoux.

Arnoux, a linebacker, has been plagued by injuries and failed his physical. Payton says Kyle also failed a physical and was terminated. Gay, who was due more than $3 million in base salary and who missed much of last season with a concussion, was released.

The cuts rid the Saints of around $5 million in salary.

The Saints were still awaiting the debuts of first-round draft choices Cam Jordan and Mark Ingram, along with third-round pick Martez Wilson, who still were not signed Friday afternoon.

They were awaiting a number of free agents — some of their own and some from other teams — who have been signed but won’t be allowed under league rules to practice until next week. Those included receiver Lance Moore; left tackle Jermon Bushrod; running back and return specialist Darren Sproles; and linebackers Scott Shanle, Will Herring, and Danny Clark.

After practice had ended, the Saints also reached free agent deals with veteran safety Pierson Prioleau, former Green Bay fullback Korey Hall, defensive end Curtis Johnson and guard Dan Gay, a Louisiana native from Lafayette.

Several players failed physicals and had to conduct limited workouts separately. Starting cornerback Tracy Porter (knee), running back Chris Ivory (foot) and rookie defensive end Greg Romeus (knee) ran together, while left tackle Charles Brown (hamstring) rode a stationary bike. Punter Thomas Morstead stood by and watched with an injured toe.

Ivory, the Saints’ 2010 rushing leader, said there was no set timetable for his return from surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury at the end of last season, but added, “I’m going to say a couple more weeks and maybe I’ll be ready.”