Saints' Morgan pays it forward to fans

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- There was Joe Morgan, signing autographs after Saturday afternoon's practice until he practically had to be kicked off the field. It's the same kind of thing we’re often used to seeing back home in Metairie.

The New Orleans Saints have a lot of guys who do a great job of reciprocating the love from the fans in many ways, including star quarterback Drew Brees. But Morgan has always stood out as one of the guys who is especially determined to show fans the love -- both in person and on his relentless Twitter feed.

So I asked Morgan on Sunday what motivates him to sign so many autographs, and he talked about his fond memories of chasing down famous NFL players while growing up in Canton, Ohio.

Morgan’s prized autograph? Barry Sanders. Though Deacon Jones wasn’t a bad one, either, Morgan said.

Morgan is also paying it forward to a Saints fan base that has embraced him throughout his turbulent four-year career in New Orleans -- ever since he first made a splash as an undrafted rookie from Walsh during the 2011 preseason.

Morgan spent both 2011 and 2013 on injured reserve with knee injuries. But he’s hoping to earn his way back onto the roster to build on the success he showed during his one healthy season in 2012.

Morgan estimated that he’s about 85-90 percent recovered now from the major knee injury he suffered nearly one year ago today in training camp. He had a torn ACL, plus other unspecified issues that required two surgeries. Morgan sat out all of OTAs and minicamp but is finally back to full participation in training camp.

Morgan has flashed his trademark speed a couple of times in camp so far. He was kicking himself, however, for not being able to reel in a deep bomb from Brees on Sunday during team drills. Morgan broke free behind the defense but couldn’t get to the ball. He said he was rusty because he couldn’t remember the last time he had been overthrown.

In general, he said he felt good while getting an extended amount of reps on Sunday with veteran Robert Meachem out with back tightness.