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New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara runs in an exclusive lane

'I'm not comparing myself to nobody'

Perhaps eventually, the comparison questions for Alvin Kamara will stop.

He appreciates the work done by other NFL running backs, can rattle off the names of the top ones with the best of them. But he never has been in the business of measuring himself against them, and he clearly has no interest in doing so.

"I'm not comparing myself to nobody," Kamara said during minicamp last week. "I've got my thing, I've got my lane, I stay in my lane, I do what I've got to do."

It makes sense, given that Kamara's lane is one of the rarest, most prestigious ones in the NFL, and fast is becoming the best one a New Orleans Saints running back ever has created.

In his first four seasons he set a trajectory that surpassed any in franchise history, and topped a few NFL marks, too. So far, Kamara has rushed 672 times for 3,340 yards and 40 touchdowns, caught 326 passes for 2,824 yards and 15 scores, and even chipped in 218 yards and a touchdown on punt and kickoff returns.

His 16 rushing touchdowns and 21 overall last season were both franchise single-season records, and the six rushing touchdowns he scored against Minnesota on Christmas Day tied the NFL single-game record. He's 16 touchdowns away from equaling Marques Colston's franchise record of 72 (established in 10 seasons) and 10 rushing touchdowns from tying Mark Ingram II's franchise mark of 50 (set in eight years).

Kamara, a two-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowl selection, is the first running back in NFL history with at least 500 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in each of his first four seasons and in each of those years, he caught at least 81 passes.

To a large degree, Kamara simply has worked his way into his lane. Doing what he has to do has meant incorporating drills into his workouts coordinated by Dr. Sharif Tabbah that may appear unorthodox at first glance, but have been instrumental in helping Kamara become one of the league's most productive players.

In 2019, ankle injuries slowed Kamara to 1,330 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in 14 games. Last season, he totaled career highs in yards from scrimmage (1,688) and rushing yards (932) in 15 games, with one game missed due to being placed on the reserve/Covid-19 list.

Kamara said he felt strong down the stretch.

"That's the goal, for it to translate," he said. "Everything that I'm doing is setting up for that season, that long haul. Once we get into Week 13, 14, I'm still good, I'm hitting that second wind and I'm feeling good."

And he chose not to stray too far from the path this offseason.

"We kind of built off last year, a lot of lower body focus, a lot of lateral movement focus," he said. "It's been a grind this year, honestly. Evolve, evolve, evolve every year. I do so much, I'm moving and excelling and progressing in these movements and these exercises every day, every week. And it only gets harder. It never gets easier.

"So we're always trying to find the next thing to do, (Tabbah) is always trying to stump me. (Two weeks ago), he was making up stuff during the workout, just going and just flowing. He's trying to get me to fail, but it's all in good faith and it means well."

Kamara said he has an appreciation for the Saints' new offseason approach. The absence of OTAs and emphasis on strength, conditioning, film study and on-field work that's position-specific more so than team centered has been beneficial.

"It makes a lot of difference, because it's more mental than physically taxing," he said. "There are guys that need some more of that classroom work, just to exercise the mind.

"It's easy to come out here and say we've got to practice three days out of the week, and you can kind of get through that and do what you've got to do. (But) sometimes things get overlooked because you're focusing on the bigger picture as far as having the whole, structured practice. Whereas when you're in the classroom, it's more catered to I'm meeting with my running back group, and we're talking about what we have to do as a running back, in pass protection, run schemes, route concepts, all that.

"You get a little bit more time to kind of think things through, and figure out the why, the when and how. When you're practicing, you're out there and you're on the fly with some stuff."

Not that the why, when and how seem to be significant hurdles for Kamara. From his lane, he has shown that he has a way of getting around obstacles.

Kamara said he has an appreciation for the Saints' new offseason approach. The absence of OTAs and emphasis on strength, conditioning, film study and on-field work that's position-specific more so than team centered has been beneficial.

"It makes a lot of difference, because it's more mental than physically taxing," he said. "There are guys that need some more of that classroom work, just to exercise the mind.

"It's easy to come out here and say we've got to practice three days out of the week, and you can kind of get through that and do what you've got to do. (But) sometimes things get overlooked because you're focusing on the bigger picture as far as having the whole, structured practice. Whereas when you're in the classroom, it's more catered to I'm meeting with my running back group, and we're talking about what we have to do as a running back, in pass protection, run schemes, route concepts, all that.

"You get a little bit more time to kind of think things through, and figure out the why, the when and how. When you're practicing, you're out there and you're on the fly with some stuff."

Not that the why, when and how seem to be significant hurdles for Kamara. From his lane, he has shown that he has a way of getting around obstacles.

Check out photos of New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara in action during the 2020 NFL season.

Kamara, a two-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowl selection, is the first running back in NFL history with at least 500 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in each of his first four seasons and in each of those years, he caught at least 81 passes.

To a large degree, Kamara simply has worked his way into his lane. Doing what he has to do has meant incorporating drills into his workouts coordinated by Dr. Sharif Tabbah that may appear unorthodox at first glance, but have been instrumental in helping Kamara become one of the league's most productive players.

In 2019, ankle injuries slowed Kamara to 1,330 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in 14 games. Last season, he totaled career highs in yards from scrimmage (1,688) and rushing yards (932) in 15 games, with one game missed due to being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Kamara said he felt strong down the stretch.

"That's the goal, for it to translate," he said. "Everything that I'm doing is setting up for that season, that long haul. Once we get into Week 13, 14, I'm still good, I'm hitting that second wind and I'm feeling good."

And he chose not to stray too far from the path this offseason.

"We kind of built off last year, a lot of lower body focus, a lot of lateral movement focus," he said. "It's been a grind this year, honestly. Evolve, evolve, evolve every year. I do so much, I'm moving and excelling and progressing in these movements and these exercises every day, every week. And it only gets harder. It never gets easier.

"So we're always trying to find the next thing to do, (Tabbah) is always trying to stump me. (Two weeks ago), he was making up stuff during the workout, just going and just flowing. He's trying to get me to fail, but it's all in good faith and it means well."

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