Look: Highlights from the Saints rookie crawfish boil

Which New Orleans Saints rookies held their own at the annual team crawfish boil? And who needed some pointers? Check the highlights via @DillySanders:

The New Orleans Saints have brought back the tradition of the rookie crawfish boil after a two-year hiatus, treating the team’s draft picks and undrafted free agents for a night of food and fun. This was the first experience with peeling crawfish for many of the players, but some are no stranger to the popular seafood dish.

Here are some highlights from the night; watch players get introduced to what could potentially become a regular meal if they stick around New Orleans. It was a new experience for California native and Saints first-round pick Chris Olave, but some of his teammates like former Nicholls State receiver Dai’Jean Dixon and former Auburn Tigers safety Smoke Monday were eager to share some pointers:

Dennis Allen responds to Drew Brees’ ‘jest’ about NFL comeback

Saints coach Dennis Allen downplays the seriousness of Drew Brees’ comments on a potential NFL comeback:

Former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees started an uproar over the weekend in which he commented on his plans for the future in response to a report that he is out on NBC after just one year in television, announced that he is undecided on what comes next — saying that everything is on the table, including a possible return to the NFL.

But Saints coach Dennis Allen isn’t buying it. When asked about Brees’ potential comeback on Monday at the Saints Hall of Fame Golf Tournament, Allen said that there haven’t been any conversations between Brees and the team, telling NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill that “I think the comment was made in jest.”

The Saints’ depth chart is in place with Jameis Winston returning as the unquestioned starter and veteran backup Andy Dalton at the ready behind him. Second-year draft pick Ian Book is also fighting for a roster spot while Taysom Hill is converting to tight end. Brees could hypothetically step back in to the starting job, but the Saints have invested fully in surrounding Winston with help, not looking for his replacement. It may be best to stay the course.

As for where Brees will end up: there are still some moving pieces at other networks with FOX Sports and Amazon looking to fill out their teams, and Brees’ old coach Sean Payton still hasn’t officially announced his new job as a studio panelist. Stay tuned to see where he’ll end up, but the Saints don’t expect it to be New Orleans.

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Saints fan gets married at 2022 NFL draft in Las Vegas

How’d you spend our Saturday? Because Saints fan Briana McAllister lived it up getting married at the NFL draft in Las Vegas, via @RossJacksonNOLA:

There are a lot of ways to spend a Saturday at the end of April, but this might take the cake. The wedding cake. Saints fan Briana McAllister and her now husband Toby Koster not only had the chance to attend the 2022 NFL draft, but also get married in the meanwhile! This comes one year after the two were engaged during the 2021 draft in Cleveland.

So from engagement to nuptials, the NFL draft got to hold site for both of these magical moments for McAllister and Koster. While most Saints fans were cheering over the team’s first-round selections of Chris Olave and Trevor Penning, these two celebrated being each others’ first-round selections in style.

Next year, the draft will be in Kansas City, where the two were engaged and near Koster’s hometown. Will be fun to see if they get the opportunity to celebrate their first anniversary together with another draft appearance. Congratulations to the happily married couple.

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C.J. Gardner-Johnson pays special tribute to Tom Brady at his youth football camp

Watch: C.J. Gardner-Johnson pays special tribute to Tom Brady at his youth football camp

This is just fantastic. Sure, the New Orleans Saints have frustrated Tom Brady at every turn since he went ring-chasing in the NFC South, with their defense sacking, intercepting, taunting, and defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback so often that he briefly went into retirement. And no Saints player has embodied the role of a smirking gadfly so much as C.J. Gardner-Johnson.

Gardner-Johnson kept up the heat on Brady at his recent youth football camp, sending participants through a tackling drill to work on their form — with the tackling dummy wearing Brady’s jersey, of course. It’s an exquisite choice. See for yourself in the video shared by Gardner-Johnson’s manager.

And, hey, what else should Gardner-Johnson do? Brady came to Tampa Bay because he thought that was his easiest path to winning more Super Bowl titles. He got his Mickey Mouse ring in the COVID-plagued 2020 season, with a three-interception Drew Brees meltdown helping him along the way, but he’s otherwise experienced nothing but failure at the hands of the Saints.

Gardner-Johnson and the New Orleans defense have beaten him so badly that he’s been reduced to a swearing, sweating mess. Good on Gardner-Johnson for leaning into it. Now let’s hurry up and get to September so we can see that energy translate to the field — we know he’s good for it.

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Former Saints CB Keenan Lewis urges Tyrann Mathieu to sign with New Orleans

Former Saint Keenan Lewis says returning to New Orleans was “the best decision I made in my life” and urges the same for Tyrann Mathieu, via @RossJacksonNOLA:

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Tyrann Mathieu watch has swept the NFL free agency landscape for past few weeks. After visiting with the New Orleans Saints last week at their practice facility in Metairie, Mathieu also took a virtual visit with the Philadelphia Eagles. For now, the Saints and Eagles (who pulled off a blockbuster trade just a week ago) look to be the favorites to land the Super Bowl champion safety. Several active players have taken to social media to help recruit Mathieu including C.J. Gardner-Johnson, but former Saints defensive back Keenan Lewis has given quite the pitch via Mathieu’s Instagram.

In the post, which was shared on Twitter by Nola.com’s Rod Walker, Lewis references the passionate fanbase, the team’s winning culture, and the general excitement that comes from representing one’s hometown on Sundays. Lewis is himself a New Orleans native who finished his NFL career with the Saints from 2013 to 2015. Lewis was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the 2009 NFL draft, but did exactly what he advises Mathieu to do with his playing career: “Make your last playing stop in your backyard.”

Lewis also mentioned that he “passed on millions” when he ultimately decided to return to play for his hometown team. Mathieu mentioned in a recent interview with Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star that he would have probably taken the deal the Chiefs gave safety Justin Reid; that three-year deal is worth $31.5 million, an average of $10.5 million per year. Well below what many believe Mathieu’s asking price has been, though an exact number has not been reported.

If the three-time All-Pro safety and New Orleans can find the right price, the choice Lewis made in 2013 could pave way for a momentous reunion for Mathieu. In his note, Lewis calls his choice to return to New Orleans “the best decision I made in my life.” A sentiment the Saints and the Honey Badger would certainly love to repeat.

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Free agent QB Colin Kaepernick accepts Saints WR Jalen McCleskey’s offer to work out together

Colin Kaepernick took up a Saints receiver on his offer for a New Orleans-area workout. The Saints don’t have an excuse to avoid him after taking on Deshaun Watson’s distractions:

Let’s not make more out of this than it is, but it is worth noting given the void on top of the New Orleans Saints depth chart at quarterback. New Orleans Saints wide receiver Jalen McCleskey invited Colin Kaepernick to join him for a throwing session following the free agent’s workout last week with Seattle Seahawks Pro Bowler Tyler Lockett, saying on Twitter that he’s on his way to a city that “has always showed love,” and where he took the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl in 2012.

Kaepernick, 34, hasn’t thrown a pass in the NFL since the 2016 season after his protests against social injustice and police brutality became the center of controversy between fans, players, and league ownership themselves. He reached a multi-million dollar settlement with the NFL in 2019 after alleging collusion grievances to keep him out of the league, but Kaepernick has remained sidelined — but working hard to stay ready for his next opportunity — ever since.

Obviously the Saints should give him a look. They’ve reportedly ruled out Taysom Hill as an option under center this season and have yet to re-sign Jameis Winston following last year’s season-ending knee injury, leaving Ian Book and Blake Bortles as their only passers under contract. They need more quarterbacks, and there aren’t many out there with a stronger resume than Kaepernick.

After a lengthy but ill-fated pursuit of Deshaun Watson, whose 22 allegations of sexual misconduct are likely to lead to a league suspension this year, New Orleans can’t exactly say that Kaepernick would be too distracting an addition for their team. If they were willing to trade three years’ worth of draft picks for a passer who was being deposed in court in-between meetings with them, they should be willing to give Kaepernick the shot he deserves.

But it’s more likely we’ll get a not-interest response from the Saints if anyone ever gets to ask first-year head coach Dennis Allen about it. That was the case for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who gave a not-in-my-backyard response when asked whether he’d consider Kaepernick as a possible replacement for Russell Wilson following his blockbuster trade to the Denver Broncos. Maybe McCleskey sees some things in working out with Kaepernick and gets the word back to Allen and the Saints, but frankly, if Kaepernick hasn’t gotten another shot over the last five or six years it isn’t likely to happen now, unjust as that is.

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Former Saints players say their goodbyes, thank fans after leaving in free agency

Former Saints players say their goodbyes, thank fans after leaving in free agency:

It hasn’t taken long for losses to pile up for the New Orleans Saints in free agency. Longtime starting free safety Marcus Williams was signed away by the Baltimore Ravens at the earliest opportunity, with reserves like running back Ty Montgomery (signed by the New England Patriots) and tight end Garrett Griffin (picked up by the Detroit Lions) heading out in the days that followed. And they were quick to thank Saints fans for the memories they made together.

New Orleans won a lot of football games with these guys on the team, and it’s clearly a part of their lives that they’ll cherish even after moving on. Williams and Montgomery each addressed the fanbase on Twitter and thanked them for the support over the years. Griffin, the Air Force Academy graduate has been away from social media fulfilling his annual military commitments, so he hasn’t had much opportunity to comment on his career change publicly. Here’s to their success in their new starts around the league.

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Lifelong Browns fan CJ McCollum makes Saints recruiting pitch for Jarvis Landry

Pelicans superstar and lifelong Browns fan CJ McCollum made his recruiting pitch for Jarvis Landry to join the Saints:

Filing this under things we love to see: it hasn’t taken New Orleans Pelicans superstar CJ McCollum long to take to his new city, and the lifelong Cleveland Browns fan is already throwing his weight around on Twitter to try and help his next-door neighbors. It’s no secret that the New Orleans Saints need help at wide receiver, which led McCollum to dive into the news of the day that his Browns are releasing five-time Pro Bowler Jarvis Landry.

And McCollum’s advice to Landry: come join him in New Orleans, which happens to be Landry’s own hometown. It’s a sentiment we share with McCollum here at Saints Wire, and the vision of Marquez Callaway and recently-tendered Deonte Harty clearing out defenses while Michael Thomas and Landry take advantage of the free real estate underneath coverage is awful enticing.

Let’s be real, Landry isn’t going to sign with the Saints because McCollum recommended it. But it sure would be fun to see both star players making highlight reel-worthy plays in the Caesars Superdome and Smoothie King Center, shoulder to shoulder. Let’s see if anything develops here.

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Watch: Jameis Winston tests out his deep ball post-surgery

Watch: Jameis Winston tests out his deep ball amid recovery from knee surgery, weeks before free agency

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Well look at that. Jameis Winston is still recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL and damaged MCL in his left knee, an injury that ended his 2021 season with the New Orleans Saints, but he’s still got one of the best arms in pro football. He took a break during rehab to flex a little on the practice field, letting it rip from midfield.

Winston’s recovery has been really well-documented on social media; his team has been sharing videos of his progress almost weekly as he tests out his surgically-repaired knee. With free agency fast approaching, he’ll be eager to show interested teams (including the Saints) that he’s healthy and ready to lead an offense again.

Obviously it’ll take more than one nice pass to convince a team to sign him. But Winston made enough improvements in limited snaps with the Saints last year to warrant a further look. He did a better job of protecting the football and maintained a highly-efficient scoring offense. If the Saints can bring him back, improve his protection and upgrade his assortment of weapons, Winston could really impress some people.

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Saints fans get payback on Eli Apple after he allows Super Bowl-losing TD pass

Much like Matthew Stafford throwing his game-winning TD pass, Saints fans on Twitter took aim at Eli Apple during his fourth-quarter Super Bowl collapse:

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Much like Matthew Stafford throwing his game-winning touchdown pass, New Orleans Saints fans on Twitter took aim at Eli Apple during his fourth-quarter collapse in Super Bowl LVI. The Cincinnati Bengals starting cornerback put a target on his back weeks ago, going on a bizarre rant ripping everything from Saints fans to New Orleans cuisine just minutes after his team knocked advanced to the next round of the playoffs.

So his name began trending on Twitter immediately after Apple yielded the final score to Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, which meant his team lost by a final tally of 23-20. Sure, other factors played a part in Cincinnati’s loss. Their offensive line got Joe Burrow killed, with the young franchise quarterback taking sacks on almost every series during the second half. Bengals coach Zac Taylor put too much pressure on that offensive line by going into shotgun on almost every single short yardage situation. And a couple of favorable officiating calls also helped bail Los Angeles out of some jams.

But when the chips were down and the Bengals just needed one stop to get home with a Lombardi Trophy, it was Apple in coverage against Cooper Kupp that proved to be the game-deciding mismatch. And fans — and even some players around the league, including his ex-teammates Michael Thomas and C.J. Gardner-Johnson — were quick to remind him of that on social media: