Official word from New Orleans Saints linebacker Kwon Alexander is that on Sunday he'll play in the regular-season opener against Green Bay, less than nine months after rupturing his Achilles on Christmas Day last season.
"Yeah, I'm playing this week, for sure," Alexander said of the game against Green Bay, scheduled to kick off at 3:25 p.m. on TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.
While Alexander was concrete in his belief, the Saints haven't officially declared him "in" for the game.
"I don't know that we looked at games," Coach Sean Payton said Monday, regarding a timetable for Alexander's return. "We're still going to meet in regards to how we want to approach this first game, but I don't know that we set a goal of the first, second game of the season.
"We set a course on how we wanted him to return gradually to play and will continue to do that."
Alexander practiced on a limited basis during training camp, but didn't play in either of the two preseason games and hasn't had contact since Christmas.
"When I was practicing I was trying to get a little contact in, just to feel around and everything," he said. "I should be fine. I know how to play the game, get out there and run and hit and have some fun."
HORNED SAINTS: The Saints had their first workout at TCU on Monday, at the school's indoor facility.
"It gives you a chance to really kind of organize what the long-term itinerary is going to be," Payton said. "Once you actually do it, the logistics – leaving here, arriving there, being dressed, on the field, lifting weights afterward, getting back – just a couple of things that would be slight alterations relative to putting it on paper. But everything went smooth."
TEXAS RETURN: Payton said that the team totally hasn't mapped out its itinerary going forward, relative to where it will base operations in the near future. But the preliminary plan is for the Saints to fly back to Texas after Sunday's season opener.
"My anticipation is after this game, we'll be coming back that night to this location," Payton said.
QB QUARTET: New Orleans will open the regular season with four quarterbacks on the roster – starter Jameis Winston and backups Taysom Hill, rookie Ian Book and Trevor Siemian. Hill's versatility (he's capable of playing multiple positions when not at quarterback) is a major influence in that decision.
"(Hill) has so much versatility that it's hard to say just on gameday, 'No, he's going to do these things, and then also be the backup quarterback,' " Payton said. "I just think that's difficult, relative to his week of preparation.
"And so we like the room, we like the guys that we have in the room. Obviously, we have experience, (and) we have some youth, if you will, with Ian."
Check out the best action photos from the New Orleans Saints in August presented by Sony.