METAIRIE, La. -- Robert Meachem wasn't gone for long.
The New Orleans Saints re-signed their longtime receiver on Wednesday, four days after he was released. To make room, the Saints placed rookie linebacker Khairi Fortt on injured reserve, with the designation to return after 6-8 weeks.
Saints coach Sean Payton said there was "no deal" in place to bring Meachem back. But he said the Saints' familiarity with Meachem obviously kept him in their plans as they continued to tweak their roster throughout the week, and they were fortunate he remained available.
It's still unclear how the Saints will use their deep group of wide receivers heading into Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons. Returning starter Kenny Stills' status is uncertain after he dealt with a nagging quad injury in the preseason. The Saints also have receivers Marques Colston, Brandin Cooks, Joe Morgan and Nick Toon at their disposal.
Meachem (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) has been a valued role player for the Saints throughout most of his eight-year career. He's been both a standout deep threat and a standout blocker -- often used in New Orleans' heavy run sets.
Meachem briefly left for the San Diego Chargers in 2012, but he was released after one disappointing season. The Saints quickly re-signed him and thrust him back into his usual role.
Meachem caught just 16 passes in the regular season last year, but he finished with 324 yards, averaging more than 20 yards per catch. He caught another three passes for 109 yards in the playoffs.
A first-round draft pick out of Tennessee in 2007, Meachem has 171 catches for 2,800 yards and 27 touchdowns in his regular-season career.