METAIRIE, La. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New Orleans Saints training camp:
It may have been a good news/bad news day for linebacker Victor Butler. He returned to the practice field after being sidelined by an undisclosed injury for the past three weeks. But according to a report by WWL Radio, Butler is expected to be released. If that’s true, it’s a bit of a surprise and definitely a shame. Butler seemed like such a promising young pass-rusher and such a great fit when he signed as a free agent last year. But injuries may prevent him from ever taking a snap with the Saints. I’ll have more thoughts on the move after it’s confirmed.
Other injury updates: Receiver Kenny Stills wasn’t in pads Monday after aggravating his quad injury in last Saturday’s game. He watched practice from the sideline. … Safety Rafael Bush and offensive tackle Thomas Welch were new additions to the injury list. They also watched from the sideline without pads. So did linebacker Khairi Fortt, who remained sidelined. Cornerback Trevin Wade spent part of practice running off to the side with trainers. … Safety Marcus Ball and fullback Erik Lorig remained absent. … Receiver Brandin Cooks practiced fully after being limited by a stomach virus last week.
The most notable absence Monday was that of quarterback Drew Brees, whose wife Brittany is expected to give birth to their fourth child soon. Coach Sean Payton helped pick up the slack while Brees was gone, serving as an extra QB in some position drills. “We were one quarterback short. When I saw Pierre (Thomas) throwing, we needed a little intervention,” Payton said. Payton also spent a little time lining up as a cornerback. “Yes, with safety help,” he joked. … Brees seems like a long shot to play in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Baltimore Ravens. Payton indicated that second-year backup Ryan Griffin will get “a ton of work” in the game. So far, veteran backup Luke McCown has entered all three games ahead of Griffin. But when asked if that’s an indication that McCown is ahead in their battle for the No. 2 job, Payton said no.
Cornerback Champ Bailey ended Monday’s practice with an interception during a 2-minute drill simulation. It was a bit of a gift, since McCown was throwing one up toward the end zone as time expired, but it was another good sign that Bailey is on the mend from a foot injury. It may have been Bailey’s first interception in full-team drills during training camp since his workload has been so limited. … Linebacker David Hawthorne had an impressive pass break-up during that same series as the defense held up following a fast start in that drill by McCown, tight end Jimmy Graham and others.
The Saints will hold their final practice that is scheduled to be open to the public on Tuesday at 11 a.m., weather-permitting. For fans hoping to attend, please note the time change from the original schedule. The Saints will then hold a closed walk-through on Wednesday to prepare for Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Ravens in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.