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New Orleans Saints defensive end Chase Young upbeat, trending in right direction

"I see a lot of great things. If we work together, the sky is the limit"

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The steps may not appear to be gargantuan but for New Orleans Saints defensive end Chase Young , they're likely pretty significant because they appear to signal an on-course recovery from his offseason neck surgery.

"I'm back training, doing everything – lifting," Young said. "I'm back in that stage."

Coach Dennis Allen already has stated that Young, who has participated in walkthrough portions of practice during this offseason, won't be on the field for practice until training camp, which begins July 24 and will be held in Irvine, Calif.

And then, it's likely that the Saints will take a cautious approach with Young, an unrestricted free agent who signed a one-year deal with New Orleans. But for now, Young at least is trending upward.

"I feel fine," he said. "I ran 10 (50-yard dashes), I'm getting back in shape. Getting in the weight room, about to get strong again. So, I'm going to be ready."

The Saints are counting on it.

Young was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year with Washington in 2020, when he had 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, 12 quarterback hits and 10 tackles for loss. After a torn ACL and patella tendon in his right knee abbreviated the next two seasons, he totaled 7.5 sacks and 15 quarterback hits in 16 games last season with Washington and San Francisco.

New Orleans firmly believes Young will play with a "prove-it" chip on his shoulder, but that's down the line. Currently, Young is gaining as much familiarity with the Saints off the field as he is on it, aided by the fact that the former Ohio State star joins several former Ohio State standouts (cornerback Marshon Lattimore, receiver Chris Olave, linebacker Pete Werner) on the roster.

"Right now, just taking it one day at a time, staying in my playbook so that when my number is called, I'm ready," he said. "It's been great. Definitely getting in touch with the guys, knowing a lot of the guys already. A lot of the (Ohio State) boys here already, so it's been great.

"I love it here. The only thing I had to get used to is that heat. But it's real cool. Great teammates, everybody welcomed me with open arms, so it's a great experience."

Playing with a line he believes has top talent, and being able to converse with franchise all-time sacks leader Cam Jordan, only has enhanced the experience.

"We're definitely stacked (on the defensive line). I see a lot of great things," Young said. "If we work together, I think the sky is the limit.

"Going to Cam, asking about certain things, how he sees offenses. Just the whole time he's been in the league and how he sees formations, how he picks up on little pre-snap reads and things like that.

"On paper, I feel like we're one of the most talented defenses in the league."

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