METAIRIE — After building their roster up to the maximum of 90 players Thursday, the New Orleans Saints continued to tinker with their roster as they re-signed defensive end Jeff Charleston on Saturday.
Charleston, who has been with the Saints since 2008, was unsigned through the first 1? weeks of the free agency signing period and appeared to be on the outside looking in until he showed up on the practice field Saturday.
In addition to taking defensive end Cameron Jordan with their first pick in the draft, the Saints signed former Detroit Lions defensive end Turk McBride to go with holdovers Will Smith and Alex Brown.
“Jeff was someone that we’ve felt has improved over the last two years,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “He played really well for us in the Super Bowl and last year was one of his better seasons. I like the progress he’s made, and we’re excited to have him back.”
To open up a roster spot for Charleston, the Saints waived free agent defensive end Curtis Johnson.
Colston watches again
Saints wide receiver Marques Colston was held out of practice for the second straight day to rest his surgically-repaired right knee.
Colston, who missed the 2010 regular-season finale against the Tampa Bay Bucs when he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, subsequently had microfracture surgery in January.
“We have a long way to go before the season starts,” said Colston, who expects to practice Sunday afternoon. “It’s just trying to be smart. I was going to practice (Saturday), but they told me to chill out again.”
Gay tries to impress
Saints guard Dan Gay, a graduate of St. Thomas More High School in Lafayette, is trying to make an impression in his third NFL camp despite limited experience in the sport.
A former basketball player, Gay played just one season of high school football. When his mother finally let him participate, the 6-foot-4, 303-pounder played just six weeks before getting a scholarship offer.
He went to Baylor and was in camp with San Diego and the New York Jets the last two summers. Gay played with the UFL’s Omaha Nighthawks last year and had to wait until the lockout ended before the Saints called.
While he’s played with the second- and third-team offensive line the first few days he could practice, Gay said any snaps are good.
“No matter where you get them, they’re good quality snaps,” he said. “I’m a work in progress and I’ve got a lot of work to do. But it’s never over.”
Kreutz meets media
Newly-signed center Olin Kreutz, who practiced for the first time with his new teammates Friday, met with reporters after Saturday’s 2-hour, 15-minute workout.
When asked about his opportunity to play for the Saints, the six-time Pro Bowl pick said, “It’s a great team, I’m happy to be here. The opportunity is to win a Super Bowl. That’s the kind of team they’ve built.”
Kreutz passed up more money to take the Saints up on their offer, partly because he’ll get to play with Drew Brees and what he said is probably the best guard combination in the NFL in Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks.
“So,” he said, “if you’re a center, it’s a great job.”
And the money?
“I’m going into my 14th year, so money wasn’t really important to me,” Kreutz said. “It was about finding the right fit, and this is the right fit.”
In addition to Colston, not working Saturday were CB Tracy Porter (knee), RB Chris Ivory (foot/sports hernia), DE Greg Romeus (knee), LB Ezra Butler (hamstring), WR Adrian Arrington (ankle), WR Jarred Fayson (ankle), and DT Mitch King (chest).
CB Fabian Washington had a tight hamstring and didn’t finish the practice.
Tackle Charles Brown, who had been sidelined since the start of camp with a hamstring injury, passed his physical and practiced with the second team.
Kicker Garrett Hartley connected on 7-of-8 field goals from various distances, with his only miss coming from 38 yards out. … Wide receiver Robert Meachem had the play of the day as he leaped high to pull down a Brees pass as cornerback Patrick Robinson gave up on it thinking it was overthrown. … Robinson did have a nice play, breaking up a quick slant over the middle to Devery Henderson. … Quarterback Chase Daniel hooked up with wide receiver Joseph Morgan on an 80-yard TD pass when Morgan got 5 yards behind cornerback Leigh Torrence. … Saints officials said about 3,400 fans, the largest since camp started, took in the practice in sweltering conditions.