August 4, 2009

One step forward, two steps back for Arrington

Bad news today for a talented receiver struggling to compete in Saints camp.

Adrian Arrington began his training camp on Monday, having missed the first three days continuing to rehab a hamstring injury. One step forward.

But news comes that an MRI has revealed a tear to that left hamstring, an injury that doesn't require surgery - yet - but that will continue to pain him. He won't be able to go full speed in camp until the injury heals, and trying too soon will only make things worse. Two steps back.

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Seventh round pick Adrian Arrington was interesting from the moment he arrived in New Orleans.

The Saints moved back into the second day of the 2008 draft, trading a 2009 6th round pick for a 2008 7th round pick to grab Arrington, who carried a much higher grade but slipped. Arrington and current New York Giant Mario Manningham were the consonant-rich duo at the University of Michigan for years. Both left Michigan among with many others in the exodus that followed Rich Rodriguez's arrival.

Arrington was only the second Michigan wide receiver taken by the Saints ever in the draft. The other, 1996 fifth rounder Mercury Hayes, also played little for the Saints, recording four receptions in 11 games over two seasons. (The Saints took Hayes immediately after the Chiefs took a little-known juco and CFL player named Joe Horn.)

In training camp as a rookie, Arrington looked fantastic. Rarely dropping passes, he was a force to be reckoned with and far outshined Robert Meachem, who had been a first round pick the year prior. He may have seen playing time as a rookie despite his lowly draft status had a turf toe injury not struck.

In the 2008 preseason opener against the Cardinals, Robert Meachem recovered from a lousy camp and ignited in the desert while Arrington suffered a turf toe injury. The injury eventually forced Arrington onto injured reserve, the Saints choosing to keep the promising, lanky wideout instead of dismissing him with an injury buyout.

After rehabbing the toe, Arrington looked to pick up steam in the offseason and get back into the fight in the wide receiver depth chart. But a hamstring injury suffered in minicamp in early June is his new fight, an injury that is slow to heal. The best medicine for a hamstring is patience.

Now, Arrington finds himself at the bottom of an extremely talented, young, and very fast wide receivers corps. The Saints depth chart doesn't look any different but is far more solidified now in 2009. Marques Colston is a rock solid starter. Devery Henderson has a brand new four year contract, Lance Moore had a remarkable breakout season and Robert Meachem has apparently matured by leaps and bounds. WR Courtney Roby will probably stick around for kickoff returns, if not Skyler Green.

Its hard to envision a healthy Arrington making this Saints team in 2009 barring some injuries above him. An injured Arrington may force the team to place him on injured reserve - to Arrington's benefit - or release him with an injury settlement.

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