Unfortunately for Saints running back Edwin Baker, it’s probably “been there, done that,” time again.
Even after a day when he scored his team’s only touchdown.
In his brief NFL career, Baker has been cut for three straight years, the past two in the first round when rosters are trimmed from 90 to 75.
And Sunday, even after Baker had brought the somnambulant Mercedes-Benz Superdome crowd to life with his 45-yard touchdown run and acquitted himself well on special teams in the Saints’ 27-13 exhibition loss to Houston, Sean Payton was more anxious to talk about rookie Marcus Murphy’s day.
That was even after the question just put to him actually was about Baker and how his performance made it more difficult to make cutdowns at running back.
“It’s doesn’t make it difficult,” Payton began. “It reaffirms what we thought.
“Each week, he’s been close. I like the player. I like the player. He’s making this team.”
And then Payton caught himself.
“Are you talking about Murphy or Baker?” he asked.
“Baker played well.”
And then Payton went back to talking about Murphy before coming back to Baker, praising him for the long run and his physicality, closing with, “I got ahead of myself.”
Baker, to his credit, took the snub with good grace, even if it possibly revealed where he stands in the team’s crowded pecking order at his position.
“I’ve got nothing for you,” he said. “I couldn’t tell you why he said that.”
If the “Hard Knocks” crew here with the Texans had been featuring the Saints instead, it definitely would have made the show.
But amid the laughs, sometimes we forget that for these players, making an NFL team is the culmination of all they’ve worked to do since they first put on pads.
And that day you’re told you’re not good enough, well, it’s not a good day.
“I haven’t wanted to do anything else since I was 5 years old,” Baker said. “When you have a chance to do what you love, what you’ve been shooting for your whole life, and it’s taken away from you, it’s going to do something do you.
“It doesn’t matter NFL or Pop Warner, it’s still the same feeling.”
Baker seemingly had the tools to make it.
Highly recruited to Michigan State, he had two 1,000-yard seasons before declaring for the draft in 2012.
But after being drafted in the seventh round by San Diego, Baker failed to make the final cut and was cut again in 2013, this time earlier.
He was on the Chargers, Denver and Houston practice squads before getting a chance in 2013 with Cleveland, where he started two games and rushed for 171 yards and two touchdowns.
But the Browns cut him last year, and Baker spent most of the season on the Saints practice squad, although he was active for three games, mostly seeing special teams duty.
So Sunday’s touchdown, in which he was never touched, had to be a confidence builder — not to mention providing something for the other 31 teams in the league to see.
“I was happy to showcase my ability,” Baker said. “I pride myself on speed, and speed always kills.
“I never know how many snaps I’m going to get, so I try to take advantage of each and every one of them.”
Baker’s touchdown run gained him a round of congratulations, not just on the sidelines but in the locker room, where he and his fellow players on the bubble where also seemingly shared unspoken good luck wishes, knowing that their numbers would be reduced by 15 when they come back to practice Tuesday.
“I’m still living my dream,” Baker said. “But I know this is also a business.
“You can have your ups and downs, your trials and tribulations, but you make your goal to overcome them. I’m going to stay positive.”
Even if the Turk comes calling again.