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Rookie offensive tackle Lewis Kidd weaves path from long shot to 53-man roster for New Orleans Saints

'I don't know if it's necessarily hit me yet'

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Check out the faces of your New Orleans Saints players who take the field during the 2022 NFL season for the Black and Gold. Lewis Kidd, OL #66

There was no time for the kid glove treatment.

Ryan Ramczyk wasn't practicing on Aug. 17, the second day of joint practices against Green Bay, Landon Young suffered an injury the first day (Aug. 16) and didn't practice the second day, James Hurst got injured and exited practice early and Trevor Penning was dinged up and had to leave practice before quickly returning.

The New Orleans Saints were running low on offensive tackles, and Lewis Kidd was one of the few remaining who was available.

Not the storybook script, except this part: That work in Green Bay helped Kidd take the gargantuan step from undrafted rookie to the Saints' 53-man roster.

"What Lewis did this year is special," Ramczyk said. "He came in here and he worked really hard. I saw a lot of improvement in his game. He got a ton of reps and he really put in the work and got better as camp went on, and it paid off for him.

"Throughout camp, it's been a journey," said Kidd, who played guard for three years at Montana State before moving to tackle as a senior, in 2021. "Starting out in OTAs and stuff, kind of being second string, third string just with the amount of guys you have. We got out of rookie OTAs going into regular OTAs and just kind of backing guys up, Ramczyk being out and kind of limited allowed Landon and I to get some more reps with the ones and twos. Just kind of stepping up when guys needed a break or if they were limited.

"Unfortunately, with Landon going down that week, and James, it just kind of was something we needed – we needed tackles, and that's what I'm doing. That's what I've been working. It was a tough week of practice, for sure. But it was fun. I got a lot better, I learned a lot, even throughout the three (preseason) games. It was an awesome experience and kind of really cool to get that experience underneath your belt before the first game."

Stepping in under adverse conditions is an experience Kidd was familiar with.

After redshirting as a freshman at Montana State, he started the last five games of his first season when a teammate was injured and finished his college career with 48 consecutive starts.

"As unfortunate as it is, that's the game we play," he said. "That's what we sign up for, the inherent risk of football. We have injuries all the time, every day and it sucks.

"Nobody wishes that. It's just not the way you want your teammate or brother to go down. You want a good competition, you don't want it to be, 'This guy is only playing because everybody else is hurt. He's kind of the last resort.' You want to earn that spot. It's a next man up mentality. That's kind of what I've always tried to live my football career on.

"That's how I got my start in college. A guard went down, a senior guard – I probably wasn't even going to play that much. He did something to his knee, and ended up being out for the season. That's kind of when I stepped in and took over."

Taking over isn't a present expectation for Kidd. Hurst and Ramczyk are expected to be ready for the regular season opener against Atlanta and Young is back to work, though Penning suffered a significant toe injury in the preseason final and figures to be out for a while. For now, Kidd has the satisfaction of knowing that as a long shot, he made the team.

"(He's a) consistent player that we think is a young, developmental type player," Coach Dennis Allen said. "There's not a lot of big men walking around this Earth, and so when you find one that's a pretty good athlete that can move his feet a little bit, has some toughness and some intelligence about him, you don't really like to let those guys get out of the building."

"I don't know if it's necessarily hit me yet," said Kidd, a 6-foot-6, a 311-pounder. "I'm still in that mode of, I've still got something to prove. I'm here to help out the team in any way possible, no matter what.

"It's awesome, it's great, everybody is super excited with family, friends. But at the end of the day, my work's not done. I'm just ready to continue this work and get going into the season."

D.A. ON MAYE: Allen said the team still was gathering information regarding the Thursday arrest of safety Marcus Maye.

"We were made aware of it this morning," Allen said. "We're still gathering all the information. We're really not going to have a comment on it at this time, until we get more information."

According to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, Maye was arrested after JPSO investigated a road rage incident that occurred Aug. 29 in Metairie, charged with one count of aggravated assault with a firearm. Maye's attorney released a statement saying, "Marcus vehemently denies the allegation from a motor vehicle incident, and looks forward to defending himself when all the facts come out."

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