The New Orleans Saints are bringing back versatile offensive lineman James Hurst on a three-year contract.
"I'm very excited, very excited, very honored," Hurst said in a conference call with local media Tuesday. "It's a huge blessing. The timing in my life right now and my career, and obviously what's going on in the country and the world, there's just a lot of uncertainty. So being able to sign a contract in a great city with a great team, with great coaches and teammates, it's unbelievable. My wife and I, we just feel so blessed. We're so excited to get back down there and get things started again."
Hurst came to the Saints on a one-year deal last season. He was forced to miss the first four games of the 2020 campaign due to suspension by the league, but once he got on the field, he played an important role up front for New Orleans. Hurst appeared in 12 regular-season games, starting three, and he gave the Saints a dynamic player that filled several roles.
"Last season, was honestly some of the most fun I've had playing football in a long time," Hurst said. "There's so much that goes into a team, the teammates, the coaches, the scheme, the coaching style, the locker room, the city, the people you meet. So there's so many variables, and everything just felt right."
Two of Hurst's starts came at left tackle in place of Terron Armstead, who was placed on the reserve/Covid-19 list, and he also started one game at guard. He also filled in as a sixth offensive lineman in the Saints jumbo packages.
Hurst was the only Saints lineman on track for unrestricted free agency this offseason and is excited about the opportunity to return to the Saints locker room.
"They were so welcoming, such good guys, obviously, a lot of great players in that room," Hurst said. "And just to be able to come back to seemingly the same group, it's a huge deal. I think the older I've gotten, the more I've realized there's so much turnaround in the NFL. Every single year, guys leave, guys are traded, guys sign other places. So just to come back to a room that has so much stability and so much talent, it's a lot of fun. It's really exciting to be a part of that and to bring everything I've got to the table."