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Saints sign TE Michael Egnew, release DL Lawrence Virgil among flurry of moves

The New Orleans Saints have signed four new players over the past two days, including former Miami Dolphins tight end Michael Egnew. And they released four, including second-year defensive lineman Lawrence Virgil, who was waived injured.

Egnew, 25, will be reunited with Saints assistant general manager Jeff Ireland, who drafted him in the third round out of Missouri in 2012 as GM of the Dolphins. Egnew never panned out, however, and finished with just seven catches for 69 yards in 18 games played.

The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder has bounced around the league since then without cracking an active roster. He was recently released by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Virgil, 24, suffered an unspecified injury during last Thursday’s preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens. The timing was unfortunate since the former undrafted free agent from Valdosta State had been playing well this summer and had a good chance at a roster spot.

Now the Saints will count even more on some of their current undrafted rookies to emerge as part of the D-line rotation. The good news is they seem to have plenty of candidates, with Bobby Richardson, Tavaris Barnes, Kaleb Eulls and Ashaad Mabry all flashing at times during camp.

The Saints also signed three second-year players who were undrafted in 2014: linebackers Justin Anderson and Chris Young and defensive tackle Austin Brown.

Anderson was coached by new Saints assistant linebackers coach James Willis at Louisiana-Lafayette. He spent two games on the New York Giants’ active roster last year and spent time with the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys. Young has spent time with the Houston Texans and New York Jets. Brown spent time with the Texans before joining the Arena Football League.

To make room, the Saints also released veteran tight end Alex Smith, undrafted rookie receiver Kyle Prater and undrafted rookie long snapper Chris Highland. Smith and Highland recently were signed as injury replacements.

One other transaction of note: Saints coach Sean Payton announced that rookie linebacker Davis Tull will be activated from the physically-unable-to-perform list. The fifth-round draft pick from Tennessee-Chattanooga has been sidelined since he had surgery to repair a torn labrum before the draft. He likely will practice for the first time Wednesday, though he probably will be limited.