The second OTA availability for the New Orleans Saints, on Thursday, June 1 was noteworthy because of several absences, and not from a player standpoint.
Specifically, Coach Sean Payton was among a contingent of Saints personnel (including Executive Officer Gayle Benson and General Manager Mickey Loomis) that attended the funeral services for Cortez Kennedy, the Hall of Fame defensive tackle who was a dear friend of the franchise, in Arkansas. Dan Campbell, assistant head coach/tight ends, oversaw the practice.
Also on Thursday, former Saints receiver Lance Moorereflected on his recent retirement. After nine seasons with the Saints (2005-13), Moore was with Pittsburgh in '14, Detroit in '15 and Atlanta during the '16 offseason. He signed a one-day contract with New Orleans to enable him to retire as a Saint.
"Definitely something that as my career started to wind down, something that I had in the back of my mind," he said. "Thankfully for me, Mickey reached out to me last year during the season asking if it was something I would want to do. I said, 'Absolutely.' And him and Sean were gracious enough to bring me in and allow me to spend some time with the guys and to get the contract done. I feel like it's the proper ending, for sure."
But, primarily, quarterback Drew Brees addressed the media on a variety of topics. Here are a few snippets from Brees' availability, with the future Hall of Famer offering high praise on several fronts:
Photos from OTA's on June 1, 2017.
HIS THOUGHTS ON MOORE: "One of my most favorite teammates that I've ever played with. Lance was such a professional, such a pro. There were things that he could do better than anybody I've ever played with, or ever seen for that matter. It was because he worked at it. He was a pro. I knew what I was going to get out of Lance every day. It's the biggest compliment I could ever give a teammate, is (that) I knew what I was going to get out of him every day, I knew it was going to be his absolute best. He's the kind of guy that you want to win for. If you ever have a hard time getting up in the morning, then you think about a guy like that and you're like, 'I can't let him down.' Because I knew that he had that mentality for the rest of us."
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE OFFSEASON: "I like what I see. Guys are flying around, it's competitive. Obviously, we've got no pads so you've got to kind of temper your enthusiasm sometimes, but you're installing a lot of information, offense and defense. But these young guys, we went out and got the right type of guys as far as character, toughness, intelligence, guys that want to learn, they want to compete. So I like what I've seen thus far."
ON ROOKIE ALVIN KAMARA: "(He's) a little bit better every day. He's a guy that you can do a lot of things with. A lot of things. I think we're just finding out all the things that we're going to be able to do with him. As we get through OTAs, minicamp, and then once we get the pads on, I think we really start to begin to see just how versatile a guy like him can be."
ON RECEIVER TED GINN, WHO CAUGHT A COUPLE OF DEEP PASSES THURSDAY: "I cannot be more impressed with Teddy. I think he's great for that room, just as being a veteran guy who's been around a long time, played a lot of football. I think he's played some of his best football here over the last few years, as he has become more veteran. I think he brings a great element to that room – wisdom and leadership. And he's still extremely productive. He certainly doesn't look like he's lost a step. He can fly."
HIS TAKE ON ROOKIE SAFETY MARCUS WILLIAMS: "He appears to be a guy who's got a lot of confidence, and they've given him a lot of information. Defensively, with all the calls you've got to make and disguises and looks and everything, there's an adjustment there. But he doesn't seem to be overwhelmed. He seems to be like, 'Man, I want to be a guy who's making the right calls, in the right position.' He's been in some positons to make plays on the ball and he's been able to make them, so I've been impressed with him so far."
ON FREE AGENT GUARD LARRY WARFORD: "I really like Larry. I like his presence in the huddle. I think there's an intensity there that he brings, and a confidence. He fits right into that line and the huddle and our offense."
ON RUNNING BACK ADRIAN PETERSON: "He's a stud, man. He looks the part. It's been impressive. Obviously, you admire the guy from afar, I've played in a few Pro Bowls with him so I do have a little bit of that experience. But there's something about handing the ball off to that guy and watching him run through the hole and take on anybody who tries to tackle him. We're not in pads right now, but you're just imagining what it's going to be like. So, excited for that time to come."