Saints linebacker Dannell Ellerbe hoping to leave IR behind and stay on the field _lowres

Advocate file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Saints linebacker Dannell Ellerbe

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. — Dannell Ellerbe appears to be close to returning to full speed soon.

Ellerbe is participating in non-contact drills, and the Saints’ new weak-side linebacker told reporters back in June that he expected to get back to full strength by the season opener, still more than a month away.

“He is right on schedule,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “For him, as we meet in the evenings, I think he will be out here sooner than later and he is in the walkthroughs and all those things. He is going to be fine.”

When he’s been able to get on the field, Ellerbe has often worked with the starters, lining up at weak-side linebacker next to David Hawthorne in the middle.