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Deuce Loose on the Comeback Trail


How did it feel out there today?

"It felt good. It was day one for us so it was a little bit slow, but it's just coming out and reacting. It was a pretty good start for us. For myself overall, I'd probably give it a B."

Is there anything that you can't do right now as well that will come back through training camp?

"Probably the endurance and the conditioning as far as the knee is concerned. As far as making cuts and just going out there and playing the game, that's what I'm trying to get to. It's just the overall conditioning of the knees and getting into that grinding type of schedule. Right now, we're doing one-a-days and we'll see how it goes as far as doing both, but I had a pretty good practice this morning."

Have you gotten past the point where you're concerned with the kind of soreness that you have after going through a workout?

"Yeah, I've been through it before so I know it's just going to be sore. You just have to go through rehab and therapy. It's going to be sore – that's just one of the things that you have to fight through."

Drew said you're down to your high school playing weight. Is that true?

"No, I haven't gotten down that low, but I'm probably about four or five pounds away from where I want to be as far as the season is concerned. I'm just trying to make myself as light as possible to take off as much pressure as possible on the knees and then get some of that quickness back. Coming off of two knee surgeries, the doubts and questions of whether I can or can't, that's for you to discuss. As far as going out there and playing the game, I know that to be where I want to be, I have to do something "special" and that was putting in a lot of time in the training room, a lot of time in the weight room and conditioning my body and getting it ready."

Did you have any doubts during this offseason that you would be with the Saints right now?

"I pretty much felt like that I would be here. Early on by pushing the bonus back and not coming to a "quick" decision, that left speculation to be heard, but there was never a doubt. We just wanted to see how well everything would respond and that's where we're at today."

Would you consider today to be a milestone, being able to practice on the first day of training camp?

"No, I haven't done anything yet. Yeah, I made a practice but I practiced during the OTAs. It's not like it's live or anything. Once I go through a session where it really matters, then I'll count it as a milestone, but this was just another day for me."

Will that milestone be when you get hit on it?

"That matters, but still I'll do that in practice where it won't really count for anything. My teammates won't really be trying to take me out like they would in a game."

What will be a milestone for you?

"Playing. Playing against Tampa Bay. That will be something that really means something. Even in the preseason, it means something but it doesn't really mean anything as far as statistics counting for a win. That's when it will start meaning something."

Speaking of Tampa, Jeff Faine said that the difference from last year's team to the '06 team was losing you. What does it mean to hear teammates say something like that?

"Jeff is a guy that I played a lot of games with and we had a relationship and a bond. That's any running back and his offensive linemen and fullback, it's going to be special, you're going to be close. We always went to work hard whether it was Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, we wanted to put in the work so on Sunday we could try to just go out and enjoy it. You're thankful for those comments but at the same time, we knew we had talent on this team."

Coach Payton said he may have a limit on the amount of work you get in camp. Do you like that?

"Right now, the only thing that I'm doing in the afternoon is the individual drills and then get on the bike for a session or two. In the morning is truly when my work is being done. There are a set number of carries and a set number of plays that I'm on right now and we'll just see how it goes and progress as we get closer to the season."

Reggie struggled when you went out last year. Do you have any advice for him in camp this season?

"It's just adjusting to being an every-down back and making the adjustment to how the game is being played. If you're only going to touch the ball a certain amount of times, there's only so many opportunities for that big play. If your number is going to be called more frequently, you almost have to not necessarily lower your expectations but you get that three or four yards a carry, and then when that big run comes, that's when you take advantage of it."

What is your feel on the new guys and the expectation level at this point?

"All we want to do is win our division. I think everyone understands that on this team we have one common goal. If we win the division, we qualify for the playoffs and after that, it's anybody's game. If we can protect our home field and win our division, then we qualify."

As far as the new guys, is there a certain level of excitement with the new faces on the roster?

"They buy into what we're doing, they understand what our goals are, they know what our team philosophy is. We're going to come out and work, and if that's a faster pace than they are used to then they are going to catch up with us, but I think all the guys we signed and brought in are good players and they want the same things that we want."

Is there an edge on this team to get back where you were?

"I don't think it's an edge, I just think we have something to prove. We didn't win it all last year so I think we have something to prove right there. Each individual has something to find, myself included. I have to prove that at age 29 and coming off of two knee surgeries that I am still a viable option for this team."

How is that situation coming off a knee surgery? How much is mental as opposed to physical?

"It's not mental. I've been through the ACL surgery before, so it's not even really mental. It's about going out there and going against a live defense and getting tackled and getting up and doing it again and doing it for four quarters. I could go into the training room and the weight room as much as I want, I know what I have to do. So it's not really mental, it's just getting to the point where you have to play those games."

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