Keith Kirkwood should get his chance to show what he’s been doing behind the scenes.
The New Orleans Saints rookie wide receiver was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster Saturday. He takes the place of Dez Bryant, who was placed on injured reserve after reportedly suffering a torn Achilles.
Bryant signed a one-year contract earlier this week. Achilles injuries typically take around eight months to heal.
The promotion comes after Bryant got hurt during Friday’s practice, but it was not made as a result of the injury. A source said the plan was to add Kirkwood to the roster after Cam Meredith was placed on injured reserve earlier this week.
New Orleans only has four healthy wide receivers with Michael Thomas, Tre’Quan Smith, Austin Carr and Kirkwood currently on the roster. The team typically keeps four receivers active and uses all four on Sundays.
The Saints have struggled to get much production from their other receivers behind Thomas. Bryant was expected to help shore up that spot once he got up to speed, though he was not expected to play against Cincinnati regardless of his injury status.
Kirkwood signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent out of Temple. He impressed so much during camp that New Orleans gave him a weekly salary in excess of $28,000 per week to stay on the practice squad. Players in those roles typically make somewhere around $10,000 per week.
During his final season at Temple, Kirkwood caught 45 passes for 671 yards. He appeared in two preseason games and caught three passes for 31 yards.
Kirkwood has impressed his teammates in practices this season.
"He’s a young player, but he’s eager to learn, he asks a lot of questions," Thomas said. "He knows that it is still a learning process, there’s a lot of information that he can gather information from other receivers. Sky is the limit for him."