Rookie Saints cornerback Damian Swann suffered his third concussion of the season Sunday, a source confirmed to The Advocate on Monday.
Swann, who has been sidelined with a concussion in each of the past three games he’s played, is likely done for the season.
Saints coach Sean Payton declined to confirm Swann’s injury information during his Monday press conference.
“Before I issue a statement on that, we’ll make sure we have all the information from the doctors and specialists,” Payton said. “We’ll wait and see what the doctors come back with and kind of go from there.”
When he’s been healthy, the fifth-round pick has shown the kind of promise the Saints were hoping to see when they selected him out of Georgia.
Used mostly in the slot in the seven games and 230 snaps he’s played, Swann has produced 22 tackles, broken up four passes and added a tackle-for-loss.
The first concussions of his career derailed the rookie season. Swann, who had never suffered a concussion before this season, was hit with his first when his head struck the ground against Philadelphia, and the same thing happened against New York two weeks later.
Swann made his return Sunday, making four tackles before a hit on Tampa Bay running back Charles Sims forced him from the game again and put the rookie back in the concussion protocol.
But Swann’s spirits remain high, indicated by a series of tweets Sunday night and Monday morning.
“I’ll be back! Shoutout to my bros! Great W!” Swann tweeted Sunday night, then added another message Monday morning. “Ain’t (nothing) wrong with a (little) adversity.”
Keeping it 200
Defensive tackle Kevin Williams passed a big milestone Sunday, playing in his 200th NFL game.
The 13-year veteran joined an active group that includes four quarterbacks — including the Saints’ Drew Brees — one receiver, one tight end, one defensive back and just one other defensive lineman, Packers pass rusher Julius Peppers.
Williams found out he was about to reach the milestone last week, but it didn’t register as a milestone moment for the six-time All-Pro.
“I didn’t really think about it that much,” Williams said. “I told my wife, and I was like, that’s a lot of games, but I don’t know, my teammates talked about it more than I did. I just go play.”
Williams has reached the mark by being exceptionally durable. The former Viking has missed just five games in his entire career.
And he’s still going strong. Playing a surprising 52.3 percent of the defense’s snaps this season, Williams has made 28 tackles, forced two fumbles, broken up two passes and blocked an extra point for the Saints this season. The veteran just keeps going.
“It’s tiring during the week, but Sunday, what you’re playing for, that’s always your reward,” Williams said. “That’s how I’ve always looked at playing in the league. You do this hard work to get to Sunday, and then you dig down, no matter what.”
In 2004, a struggling Saints team that was 4-8 in early December won its last four games and almost sneaked into the NFC playoffs as a wild card. New Orleans fell short of the postseason only because former Saints kicker Doug Brien missed a 53-yard field goal in overtime for the New York Jets against the St. Louis Rams on the final Sunday.
After beating Tampa Bay, the Saints (5-8) are in a similar position with a friendly finishing stretch against Detroit, Jacksonville and Atlanta, three teams that are 15-24 combined.
“That’s why you play the game, to have a chance to be alive and play for something,” Saints safety Jairus Byrd said. “That’s all you can ask for.”
To get to the playoffs at 8-8, though, New Orleans would need slumping Minnesota to lose its final three games. The Vikings, who have dropped three of their past four, face Chicago and the New York Giants at home before playing at Green Bay in their finale.
The Saints also would need St. Louis to lose at least once, Tampa Bay to lose its next two or lose at Carolina in its finale and have the NFC East, where everyone is below .500, not produce two playoff teams. If Minnesota wins and Seattle beats Cleveland next Sunday, New Orleans will be eliminated before it takes the field Monday night.
The NFL announced Monday that the league has decided to change the kickoff time for the Saints’ home finale at the Superdome.
New Orleans will now take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at 3:05 p.m. on Dec. 27. The game was originally scheduled for noon.
— Guerry Smith contributed to this report.