METAIRIE, La. – Garrett Hartley is among a group of kickers working out for the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
It’s unknown if the Saints are intent on replacing current kicker Shayne Graham or if they’re just updating their list of fallback options – as NFL teams often do in season. According to league sources, the Saints also are working out Derek Dimke, who was with them throughout the summer, and Zach Hocker, among other possible candidates.
UPDATED: Per a league source, the tryouts concluded Thursday and the Saints didn’t immediately appear likely to sign any of the kickers. Obviously that could change going forward, though.
If the Saints wind up bringing back Hartley, their longtime former kicker and Super Bowl hero, it might be the most interesting twist yet in New Orleans’ current roster shake-up.
Hartley, 28, has been out of football since the Saints released him in a similar shake-up last December. Before that he spent six seasons in New Orleans that Hartley aptly described last year as a “roller coaster.”
Hartley was a hero during the Saints’ 2009 Super Bowl run, making an overtime field goal in the NFC championship game and three field goals of 40-plus yards in the Super Bowl win. However, Hartley also battled several periods of inconsistency over the years, missed one season with a hip injury and once missed four games for testing positive for a banned stimulant.
Ultimately, the Saints decided to let him go during Week 16 of last season after he had missed two field goals in a loss to the St. Louis Rams.
At the time, coach Sean Payton said, “The way these doors kind of open and close, we just agreed that, ‘Hey, right now, don’t ever say never in regards to being back with the team.’”
Graham, meanwhile, has had a solid year with the Saints after a somewhat-shaky preseason, in which he ultimately beat out Dimke for the job. But Graham missed a 42-yard attempt during this past Sunday’s 41-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
Graham has made 18 of 20 field-goal attempts this year. He has missed one extra point.