March 30, 2006

Saints Add Key Reserves in Free Agency: McAfee re-signs, team adds other backup-level players

In late March, the Saints put pen to paper on some key reserve players, including long-time Saint Fred McAfee, a key special teamer and veteran leader.

WR Chris Horn: Former Arena Football League star, backup receiver and special teamer arrives from Kansas City signed a two-year deal with the Saints on March 30. At 5'11, 195 pounds and out of tiny Rocky Mountain College in Montana, has spent three yeras with the Chiefs, playing in the past two as a backup receiver and special teamer. Horn also did the NFL Europe trip trying to catch on in the NFL. He didn't return many kicks in the NFL - he didn't have much chance playing on the same as Dante Hall - but has extensive experience as an Arena League player in three seasons with the Arizona Rattlers. He collected 104 passes for 1324 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2002 in arena ball, and has but 33 catches for 365 yards and one TD in the NFL. He started three games last season with the Chiefs and has played in 28 over two active seasons. Horn was mainly a special teamer for the Chiefs, contributing 17 special teams tackles in two years. He is the second Chief to arrive this season, after LB Scott Fujita, and the second ex-Chief receiver named Horn now on the roster.

DT Cedric Woodard: Returned to the Saints on a one-year deal on March 30. After languishing as a street free agent for most of 2005 season, he was signed by the Saints in December 05 but did not play in five games on the roster. The former Seahawks starter is expected to battle for a roster spot this offseason.

G Jonathan Goodwin: The Saints won the bidding war for Jonathan Goodwin with the Redskins on March 27. Goodwin has played both guard and center but is not a lock to start. Offensive coordinator Doug Marrone likely had a lot to do with the Saints' targeting Goodwin, as Marrone was Goodwin's line coach last year in New York. His signing helps ease the pain of the loss of LeCharles Bentley and Kendyl Jacox. Goodwin signed a two-year deal with the Saints.

RB Fred McAfee: Special teams ace and most venerable Saint (played for the team as a rookie in 1991, stayed three seasons and toured NFL before rejoining team in 2000) Fred McAfee will return to the Saints in 2006. McAfee, will be 38 in June, had a career-high 24 tackles in 2005 but lost two fumbles after being pressed into sharing the kickoff return duties. He signed a one-year, $810,000 contract on March 24.

TE Mark Campbell: Blocking-style tight end signed a three-year deal with the Saints on March 23. Whether he arrives as a starter to replace Ernie Conwell or Zach Hilton is unknown, but Campbell, 31, is not known as a weapon in the passing game, rather as a reliable blocker in the running game. The seven-year veteran has played for the Browns and Bills, collecting 116 catches for 1071 yards and 10 touchdowns in his career. The 6'6, 250 pound tight end has started 63 of 88 games.

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