Saints receiver Marques Colston says he 'can't take the pounding day after day' in training camp _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Saints receiver Marques Colston catches a pass during the Saints' morning training camp practice Monday in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — On the day Morten Andersen’s name was announced as the next to the added to the Saints Ring of Honor, a potential honoree deferred when asked about his future worthiness.

“That’s not my choice,” Marques Colston, the team’s career leader in virtually every receiving category said Monday. “All I can do is continue to work, and maybe one day when that decision is made, it will be in my favor.”

Colston, a compensatory seventh-round draft pick in 2006, is approaching his 10th season with the team with caution.

Thus far, he has participated only in conditioning and position drills while staying out of contact situations.

“I’m at the point in my career when I can’t take the pounding day after day,” Colston said in a rare media appearance. “I have to be smart there.

“But I also have to get everything I can out of every practice. My challenge is to make sure my conditioning is where it needs to be.”

Colston also reflected on the fact that only he, Drew Brees. Zach Strief and Jahri Evans remained from the infamous 2006 training camp in Jackson, Miss., the Saints’ first under Sean Payton.

“Anybody who was there can appreciate how nice it is here,” he said. “But it’s extremely rare when any group of guys plays together for a long as we have.

“We take a lot of pride in being together and what we’ve been able to accomplish.”

For that reason, Colston added, he and his teammates feel an extra sense of urgency to rebound from last year’s unexpected 7-9 showing.

“This year it’s been a lot more intense early on,” he said. “And you try to get better as a team every time you get on the field.

“That’s getting the most out of your own ability and working together. We all play this game and that’s why we come up here to put in the work that we do.”

Early exit

Left tackle Terron Armstead left the field during the team portion of the Saints’ Monday morning practice.

Payton declined to offer an update on Armstead, who did not go down on the field visibly during the practice and left the field quietly, although he was back on the field for the walk-through Monday afternoon. Several other players who’ve been injured during practice have not made it to the next walk-through session.

Bryce Harris, who started on the left side when Armstead was injured last season, stepped in for Armstead the next time the Saints’ starters took the field.

Same skills, different defense

Parys Haralson is playing a different position in training camp than where he spent last season.

Used as a strong-side linebacker in his first two seasons in New Orleans, Haralson has worked exclusively at defensive end, lining up with his hand on the ground in New Orleans’ base defense.

“Defensive end, outside linebacker, one stands up, one puts their hand down,” Haralson said. “It’s the same thing.”

New Orleans brought Haralson back on a one-year deal, but the Saints clearly envisioned moving him to defensive end, given that the team signed veteran free agent Anthony Spencer and drafted both Hau’oli Kikaha and Davis Tull, all of whom fit on the strong side along with Ronald Powell.

“We run a bunch of different kind of things, we use a bunch of different packages,” Haralson said. “I just hope to be ready when I’m called.”

Parting shots

Five observations from the practice field:

1Delvin Breaux, the CFL import with quick hips and impressive change of direction, still looks like the leader to take over at nickel cornerback.

2Rookie outside linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha bounced back on Monday, displaying impressive speed and recording a sack in team drills.

3New Orleans shifted to its nickel package on defense — subbing an extra cornerback in for a linebacker — and had some issues defending outside runs.

4Senio Kelemete, the former guard who has served as the Saints’ backup center behind Max Unger, has looked strong in pass protection.

5Cornerback Brian Dixon returned to practice after opening training camp on the non-football injury list and looked solid.

Joel A. Erickson