August 14, 2011

Sharper to visit Patriots

Free agent safety Darren Sharper, whose arrival in New Orleans in 2009 helped trigger a defensive explosion and Super Bowl XLIV run, remains a free agent in 2011.  He will visit with the New England Patriots for a workout on Monday.



Sharper, 35, 6'2, 210, is a five time Pro Bowler with one of the greatest resumes of any active defensive back in the league right now.  He has collected 63 interceptions over eight seasons in Green Bay, four in Minnesota and two with the Saints, the leader among active players and sixth overall in NFL history.

Sharper has 11 career defensive touchdowns, one behind leader Rod Woodson for the NFL career record as well.  He returned three picks for touchdowns in 2009 as he played mentor to rookie Malcolm Jenkins and others.  Sharper spent part of last season on the Physically Unable to Perform list and ended up playing in eight games, starting the Saints' wildcard matchup against the Seahawks.


Jenkins emerged in 2010 has a premiere defender at the safety position, and the Saints re-signed starting strong safety Roman Harper to a four-year, $28 million deal.


Undrafted rookie safety Isa Abdul-Quddus was seen wearing Sharper's jersey number 42 on Friday night against the 49ers in the preseason opener, a signal that the Saints may have moved on.

Meanwhile in the secondary, starting CB Tracy Porter passed his physical and joined practice on Sunday, his first practice of training camp as he continues to rehab minor offseason knee surgery.

Third round pick rookie cornerback Johnny Patrick, who played excellently on Friday night before suffering an apparent right knee injury, did not practice.  Patrick's injury has been diagnosed as a right MCL sprain that will not require surgery.

"We just have to back off and rehab him," Sean Payton said on Sunday.


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