Saints release Carr; opening for Vilma?

METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints have released veteran cornerback Chris Carr, according to a tweet from his agent, Buddy Baker. The Saints have not officially announced the move or how they plan to fill the roster vacancy. But it could be an opening for them to activate linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who is now eligible to come off of short-term injured reserve.

Vilma, who has been back at practice for two weeks, said he’s been feeling good and feels ready to return as soon as the Saints give him the green light.

“I know I’m feeling good running around, and I think I look good on film. It’s really up to Coach to decide when I can play,” said Vilma, who had an arthroscopic clean-up surgery performed on his knee in the preseason.

Vilma has said he would have been healthy enough to return much sooner. But after the Saints decided to put him on short-term injured reserve, he was required him to sit out for eight weeks.

“Fortunately I was able to take that long, almost like an extended rehab period. It was definitely for the better,” Vilma said. “Back then of course, I wanted to try to rush and get back. But it was definitely for the better that I now am able to come back and able to just go out there and run, run around and get back into football shape, get my angles down and my timing.”

Vilma said he doesn’t have any extra motivation to come back in time to play against the New York Jets in New York for the first time since he was traded from the Jets to the Saints in 2008. He said they already played each other in New Orleans in 2009, and most of his coaches and teammates are no longer there. When asked sarcastically if he’d get “misty eyed” being back in the Jets’ home stadium (which is also new), Vilma said, “Dry tears.”

If Vilma does come back, the Saints would most likely ease him into a rotational role since veteran David Hawthorne has played so well as his replacement. When Vilma was asked if he’s even more excited to rejoin the Saints since their defense was playing so well, he was only half-joking when he responded, “There’s a flip side to that. You don’t want to come in and mess it up.”

Carr, meanwhile, had been playing well for the Saints as a backup corner, including a key pass breakup in the end zone last week against the Buffalo Bills. He appeared in five games for the Saints this season with five tackles, an interception and two pass breakups. The Saints will now lean more heavily on second-year cornerback Corey White as the backup in certain nickel and dime packages.