Bengals LB Khairi Fortt talks about bizarre stay in New Orleans

CINCINNATI -- The curious case of rookie linebacker Khairi Fortt's brief stay with the New Orleans Saints took a pair of bizarre turns Thursday.

Fortt, who was acquired by the Cincinnati Bengals on Tuesday after having been waived by the Saints the day before, told ESPN.com that the preseason "leg" injury that had placed him on New Orleans' short-term injured reserve has actually been healthy for five weeks now.

"Everything's been good since the first game of the season," Fortt said from his Bengals locker.

The Saints never disclosed how Fortt was injured. Fortt said Thursday that it was to his right hamstring.

"They put me on IR. I don't know why, and obviously I'm not going to [challenge] authority, but yeah, my hamstring has been good since the first game," Fortt said.

A fourth-round pick by the Saints in May, Fortt went on short-term IR on Sept. 3. Players who go on short-term IR typically are placed under that designation when they have serious injuries that should fully heal before the end of the season. It's a way of getting players injured in the preseason or near the start of the regular season an opportunity to bounce back later in the year. Teams are allowed to place one player on short-term IR per season. That player must be on IR for nine weeks.

Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert went on that injury list after dislocating his right elbow in the season opener. He's expected back Nov. 6, when the Bengals host the Browns.

Even though the Saints let go of Fortt before his tenure on the IR ended, they aren't allowed to put another player under that designation this season.

Fortt, who arrived in Cincinnati during the middle of Wednesday's practice, has participated fully in the Bengals' workouts the last two days.

In addition to Fortt's revelation, two outlets in New Orleans reported that he was waived because he missed multiple team meetings. Multiple sources told ESPN Saints reporter Mike Triplett that he was let go because of a "football decision." The sources stressed to Triplett that Fortt wasn't let go for any violation of league rules or legal issues.

When asked, Fortt wouldn't say why the Saints released him.

"They just went a different route and [Bengals] coach [Marvin] Lewis, he gave me another opportunity, and I’m grateful for it," Fortt said. "I know coaches know that I have the ability, it’s just all about getting the playbook down now. And then from there, I’ll just move forward in trying to be a great linebacker."

Fortt's Bengals tenure will begin on special teams, where he's been told that he will play on return and coverage teams. He said he's still getting oriented with his new team and that he doesn't yet have a good enough grasp on the defense to contribute.

Special teams were primarily the impetus behind Fortt's signing, which came the same day linebacker Sean Porter was placed on Cincinnati's season-ending IR after suffering an ACL injury on the opening kickoff of last Sunday's game at New England. Porter has had other injury issues throughout his two-year career, including a balky shoulder and hamstring problems.

Fortt said during the weeks when he wasn't playing, he was lifting weights, going through CrossFit routines and honing his conditioning. He also spent time watching opposing quarterbacks.

"I took it upon me to still look at film," Fortt said. "I did the quarterback tendencies for the defense for the game, just to keep myself in the loop and to make sure I'm not all the way out of the loop. Now I'm here and looking forward to getting back out on the field again."