The New Orleans Saints brought a familiar face back to town.
After letting go of him during final roster cuts, Joe Morgan has returned to the Saints to fill out the depth at wide receiver. He couldn’t be happier.
“It’s always a sigh of relief,” Morgan said. “Being unemployed sucks.”
Morgan spent the offseason with the Saints but was not included on the first roster as New Orleans only initially carried four wide receivers.
He practiced Wednesday and it felt like business as usual for all involved.
“He brings certainly an element to the passing game,” quarterback Drew Brees said. “Listen, he’s a great blocker, he knows what to do, he can (play) a couple of receiver positions. He’s a great addition, a great guy to have back.”
Morgan takes the spot on the roster that was created by running back Tim Hightower’s release, which occurred Tuesday.
He said he watched Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals and felt a desire to be back with the team.
“I wasn’t bitter,” Morgan said. “But I would’ve liked to be out there.”
Morgan spent the last four seasons with the Saints but was released last December before returning to New Orleans in April. He caught four passes for 92 yards and had one run for another 67 yards.
The 27-year-old was also suspended by the team for a stretch last season for undisclosed reasons.
Morgan hooked on with the Saints in 2011 as an undrafted rookie but missed the season with a knee injury. He returned in 2012, catching 10 passes for 379 yards, but again injured his knee and missed the 2013 season.
He joins a group of wide receivers that includes Brandin Cooks, Marques Colston, Willie Snead and Brandon Coleman.
In pursuit of history
Brees finds himself occupying the same area code of the record books as Dan Marino a lot lately.
Brees’ final completion against Arizona on Sunday tied him with Marino for third place on the NFL’s all-time completions list, trailing only Brett Favre and Peyton Manning.
By the time Brees entered the league in 2001, Marino was in his second season of retirement — but he remembers what it felt like to be a rookie looking at Marino’s passing numbers, numbers at the time that people thought might never be broken.
“You know, it’s funny: I played my first preseason game ever in Miami, back in 2001,” Brees said. “That was my first one.”
Brees remembers walking on the field and looking up at the Ring of Honor in what was then Pro Player Stadium and marveling at all of Marino’s records.
“I remember thinking, ‘How in the world can you play long enough or have the ability to do that?’ ” Brees said.
Brees, who will move past Marino on the completions chart with his first completed pass against Tampa Bay, is also coming up on Marino in passing yards and touchdown passes.
“Humbling,” Brees said. “But don’t think about it. Just think about winning.”
Practice squad filled
The Saints rounded out the practice squad by re-signing wide receiver Seantavius Jones and fullback Toben Opurum and bringing in tight end Cameron Brate, defensive back Alden Darby and tackle Bryan Witzmann.
Jones and Opurum, who were active for the season opener against Arizona, were brought up from the practice squad the day before the game and played mostly special teams.
Brate, a Harvard product who played in five games for the Buccaneers last season and caught one pass for 17 yards, was released off of Tampa Bay’s practice squad Tuesday.
The Saints released tight end Blake Annen, wide receiver R.J. Harris and offensive lineman Sean Hickey from the practice squad Tuesday.
C.J. Spiller is on his way back.
After sitting out of practices last week, the running took part in Wednesday’s session in a limited capacity. Spiller had been sidelined for several weeks after having a minor procedure performed on his knee.
Safety Jairus Byrd, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and cornerback Keenan Lewis did not practice.
Ellerbe was in attendance at the beginning of practice. Lewis observed the session.