METAIRIE — After newly-signed veteran free agents practiced for the first time in training camp Thursday evening, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton predicted the one-week signing rush wasn’t over.
He was right.
On Friday, the Saints signed former Chicago Bears center Olin Kruetz to offset the loss of starter Jonathan Goodwin, an unrestricted free agent who signed a three-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday.
Kreutz, 34, is a six-time Pro Bowl pick who spent his entire 13-year career with the Bears. Kreutz watched Thursday afternoon’s practice with General Manager Mickey Loomis and Friday decided to take the Saints’ offer after Payton said he turned down a lot more money from other teams.
“He actually had a flight out (Friday) morning,” a smiling Payton said, “and he never got on it.”
Kreutz, who has played in 191 NFL games with 183 starts, and the Bears parted ways last week when they offered him a new contract worth $4 million — $2 million less than he made last season.
He thought about retiring, but eventually decided he would play this season if he could join a team that can contend for a title. The Saints filled the bill, leading Kreutz to sign a one-year deal.
Kreutz practiced for the first time with his new team Friday afternoon, working with the first-team offense.
He stepped in for second-year pro Matt Tennant, a 2010 fifth-round draft pick who’d been working with the starting offense since training camp started July 28.
Ivory has surgery
Payton announced that running back Chris Ivory, who has yet to practice in training camp because he was still rehabbing from surgery to repair a
Lisfranc fracture in his foot, had sports hernia surgery Friday.
Payton said Ivory had experienced pain and discomfort in his abdomen and flew to Philadelphia, where Dr. William Meyers handled the surgery.
Because Ivory was still unable to pass a physical, Payton said they decided to have the hernia surgery now so it wouldn’t linger throughout the season.
Payton said the procedure went well and the hernia rehab will last about three weeks — about as long as it will take for the foot to heal.
If all goes well with that timetable, Ivory could be
ready for the Sept. 8 season opener against the Green Bay Packers.
In addition to Ivory, CB Tracy Porter (knee), T Charles Brown (hamstring) and DE Greg Romeus (knee) still haven’t passed a physical and remained sidelined for practice.
WR Marques Colston (knee), WR Jarred Fayson (ankle) and LB Ezra Butler (hamstring) also did not work. Payton said Colston was just resting his surgically-repaired knee and Fayson left after tweaking his ankle.
One week to go
With Friday’s practice in the books, only the second full-squad workout of camp, the Saints will have five more full practices before the preseason opener Friday night against San Francisco in the Superdome.
That means the squad will have just seven practices under their belt before they play the 49ers, but Payton isn’t sweating it.
“The first concern would be that I don’t want to be in a rush to have everything in,” he said. “If the goal line offense isn’t in and we’re playing the game, then I’m comfortable with that. The mistake would be if we tried to get everything in quickly instead of trying to make it right.”
Former 49ers defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin was taken aback for his first practice Thursday with his new team as he and other newcomers had to do 40 ‘up-downs,’ for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
In the drill, players run in place and then drop to the ground and get up at Williams’ command.
“That was tough,” said the 317-pound Franklin. “It’s kind of similar to my rookie year in Baltimore. Rex Ryan used to start camp with 40 up-downs. It shocked me, caught me off guard.
“They said ‘40,’ and I didn’t know what they were talking about. But I quickly found out what ‘40’ meant.”
The Saints worked outdoors for 30 minutes before torrential rain and lightning forced them into their indoor facility for the final two hours of the workout. … Reserve linebacker Ramon Humber put a big lick on running back Mark Ingram as he returned a kickoff during special teams work. An unsuspecting Ingram was running full speed when Humber nailed him from the side, knocking Ingram completely off his feet. … In team drills, reserve fullback Kolby Hurt caught a little swing pass and overpowered cornerback Fabian Washington, flicking him away easily with a solid left shoulder to Washington’s body.