Linebacker Khairi Fortt, who was chosen in the fourth round of the draft in May by the Saints but was waived Monday, is now a Cincinnati Bengal.
The Bengals announced Tuesday that they claimed Fortt from the waiver wire and gave him a roster spot they created by placing linebacker Sean Porter on year-ending injured reserve with a hurt knee.
Fortt, who played at California, spent the preseason with the Saints but hurt a hamstring in New Orleans’ second exhibition after accumulating a lone tackle. The Saints included him on their initial 53-man roster but placed him on short-term injured reserve to open a spot for wide receiver Robert Meachem, who was released and re-signed by the team before the start of the season.
Fortt was eligible to return to action for a Week 8 game against the Green Bay Packers. He told The Advocate he was disappointed to be on short-term IR after coming relatively close to playing in his first NFL game, and he insisted he could’ve played if the Saints didn’t shelf him.
Fortt has worked under a dizzying number of coaches since starting his college career: seven.
He went to Penn State out of high school, working with Joe Paterno (2010), interim coach Tom Bradley (2011) and Bill Blankenship (spring 2012).
After the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State, he transferred to California, where he played for Jeff Tedford (2012) and Sonny Dykes (2013).
He redshirted in 2012 because of a knee injury and played just one season for the Golden Bears. California posted an ignominious 1-11 record the one campaign Fortt made it onto the field for the school, though he emerged as a semifinalist for the Butkus Award given to the nation’s top linebacker.
The Saints chose Fortt in the fourth-round of the draft in May, and he came under the command of a sixth head coach since 2010: Sean Payton. Payton said the team was unsure of what it had in Fortt after it put him on short-term IR.
Payton may find out what he had in Fortt watching him play for Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. The Bengals are 3-1; the Saints are 2-3; and the teams meet up Nov. 16 in New Orleans.