Saints veterans report to training camp; two players opt out

Saints veterans report to new-look training camp

METAIRIE, Lou. - The veterans for the Black and Gold got to experience what the rookies went through on Monday: testing for COVID-19.

According to the league’s new training camp schedule, players must pass 3 tests over a 4-day span before entering the facility. They will then be in isolation for 24 hours and afterwards will be tested daily for the first two weeks of camp (every other day if positivity rate is under five percent).

Without minicamps and OTA’s, the staff will have to go about evaluation of newcomers a bit differently, but for the Black and Gold, their experience is one thing they can rely on during this unprecedented time.

“I can’t speak to other teams, I can only speak to our team. I think it’s an advantage that Sean and I have been together a long time,” Saints general manager Micky Loomis said. “I think it’s an advantage that we have a staff that’s been together for a long time as well as a core group of players that’s been together a long time and look, we’ve been through a lot of things. I can’t answer as to whether or not we’re better equipped just because it’s so unprecedented and different than, say a hurricane, or some of the other things we’ve had to deal with.”

Backup tight ends Cole Wick and Jason Vander Laan decided to opt out of the upcoming season due to the virus. Players who are at higher risk can sit out and earn $350K, while players with lower risk can earn $150K. Wick signed to the practice squad late last season and then signed a futures contract in January. Vander Laan signed to the Saints’ practice squad October 23 as an insurance policy while Jared Cook was out with an ankle injury. He earned a promotion to the 53-player roster November 25.

Their departures leave the Saints with only four tight ends — Jared Cook, Josh Hill, Adam Trautman, and Garrett Griffin.