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Receiver Deonte Harty looks to carve out role in deep New Orleans Saints receiver room

Speedster hauled in 36 receptions for 570 yards and three touchdowns in 2021

Late in Tuesday's practice, Jameis Winston dropped back, scanned the field and unleashed a bomb downfield. In a blink of an eye, Deonte Harty was behind the defense, catching the long pass and striding into the end zone.

"We got in the huddle, and Jameis knew he wanted to throw it," Harty said. "He told me exactly what to do, so I just went out there and did it."

The 5-foot-6 speedster initially made his impact with the Saints in the return game, being named Associated Press first-team All Pro in 2019 as a rookie. After setting career highs across the board in receiving last season, Harty will look to make an impact on the offensive side of the ball as well in 2022.

He hauled in 36 receptions for 570 yards and three touchdowns in 2021 after being called upon due to injuries at the position. The receiver said you have to take every opportunity you're given seriously.

"Especially in this league, you never know what can happen," Harty said. "My number was called, and I was blessed enough to be able to play as much as I did, so you just take advantage of every opportunity you get."

Coach Dennis Allen said the wide receiver room is much deeper than last year, and the coaching staff will do the best it can to put the wideouts in position to succeed. That deep receiver room includes names such as Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, Marquez Callaway and first-round pick Chris Olave.

"We all can do everything," Harty said. "You can put anybody in any position and we'll go out there and make plays."

Where does Harty fit? Allen noted his breakaway speed, and the receiver said his ability to stretch the field will help him stand out.

"We used him in that role last year; I think that's a role he can still excel in for us," Allen said.

The Assumption College alumnus also pointed out his ability to run choice routes, crediting his rapport with Winston. He said he's developed trust with the quarterback over the last few years, including a trip to Miami with the rest of the receiver corps this year and playing on the scout team together in the past. He said Winston loves to throw long, so the deep ball is something they've practiced every day.

"We just been had that chemistry," Harty said. "We never let it go, and we just continued to build on it… I never lose stride with Jameis. I got faith in his arm, I trust his arm, and he's always accurate when he's downfield."

As far as special teams goes, Harty continues to solidify himself as one of the league's most dangerous punt returners. After his All-Pro rookie year in 2019, he averaged 9.5 yards per punt return in 202. He also had 690 kick return yards, ranking seventh in the league in that category. While the yards are important, Harty said he wants to put points on the board.

"I got to score more," Harty said. "I got to get some in the end zone so our offense can get some breaks."

Harty said he became more focused on developing his offensive game as the season went on last year, and he needs to combine both aspects this year after being a bit more hesitant in the return game in 2021.

"Now, it's just putting it all together," Harty said.

Formerly named Deonte Harris, the receiver changed his name to Harty in honor of his stepfather. Harty said it meant everything to see the name finally on the back of his black and gold jersey.

"I sent it to my family back at home, and there was a lot of tears," Harty said.

Welcome back Werner: Linebacker Pete Werner returned to the field in limited capacity Tuesday after being activated from the non-football injury list with a groin issue. He played a few snaps in seven-on-seven, saying he's taking it day-by-day but feels good.

"I'll keep adding more to the plate as days come by, but as of now I feel great," Werner said.

The Ohio State linebacker said he's been doing as much mental preparation as possible, saying the mental game is more important than the physical part for some people.

"I'm big with my notes," Werner said. "I take notes on everything… I'm always trying to write things down."

The New Orleans Saints practiced indoors on day 6 during 2022 Saints Training Camp presented by Rouses Markets on Tuesday, August 2.

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