The New Orleans Saints' footing – and roster – shifted yet again Tuesday, Aug. 10.
Cornerback Patrick Robinson, who'd been practicing with the No. 1 defense during training camp, retired, thinning the ranks even more and removing yet another player from the roster who'd been a prominent contributor to the Saints' streak of four consecutive NFC South Division titles.
Robinson, who was drafted by the Saints in the first round in 2010, was with New Orleans until '14, then had one-year stints with the Chargers, Colts and Eagles before returning to the Saints in '18.
Robinson made two starts for the Saints last season and had two interceptions – 11 of his 16 career interceptions came with New Orleans.
Saints Coach Sean Payton said the retirement was a surprise.
"No," Payton responded when asked if he saw the move coming. "Normally you don't. He's played in this league a long time. He and I spoke for about a half an hour, and he's had a great career. He's been smart with his money and it was something that deep down inside he felt.
"It's not unusual, really, in training camp. It's happened a number of times. It's hard to ever see somebody and how they're feeling. When you have a large group of players like this, someone who has played as long as he has, he felt comfortable with his decision and certainly, we respect that. He'll get on to his next chapter and we go from there."
Robinson's retirement is the second in as many weeks for the Saints. Defensive lineman Ryan Glasgow announced his retirement last Saturday.
Add to that surgery that will sideline receiver Michael Thomas for the start of the regular season, a six-game league-issued suspension to open the season for defensive end David Onyemata, core muscle surgery for kicker Wil Lutz that has him sidelined for the near future, and other assorted losses due to retirement, free agency and releases during the offseason, and the Saints seemingly have been in a constant state of storm-weathering.
Robinson was vying to replace Jackrabbit Jenkins at left cornerback as a starter, and cornerback remains a position that New Orleans wants to upgrade.
"It still is (a must position) and we'll keep working the rosters," Payton said. "There'll be a cutdown. In the meantime, we're working closely with the guys we have here.
"It's still an area that we'll pay close attention to."
The New Orleans Saints take the field for Day 11 of Training Camp presented by SeatGeek at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center
But Robinson's departure, for Robinson, also proved to be a must.
"He doesn't want to let anyone down and he just felt like in his heart, it was that time," Payton said. "And I respect that."
Cornerback Prince Amukamara claimed Robinson's old jersey number (No. 21) and Amukamara's No. 6 was given to kicker Brett Maher, the free agent who impressed enough in a Monday tryout to be added to the roster while Lutz mends.
The Saints currently have eight players listed as cornerbacks listed on the roster: Amukamara, Marshon Lattimore, Ken Crawley, Paulson Adebo, P.J. Williams, Brian Poole, Grant Haley and Bryce Thompson.
The listed safeties are Malcolm Jenkins, Marcus Williams and Eric Burrell, and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, J.T. Gray, Deuce Wallace, KeiVarae Russell and Adonis Alexander fall under the heading of defensive backs.