July 25, 2008

Saints Cut Starting TE Eric Johnson

Unable to practice because of non-football injury, Johnson has lost job to Shockey

TE Eric Johnson was signed last year to attempt to fill an annual void in the Saints' lineup. The Saints haven't had a truly productive tight end since Henry Childs' made the Pro Bowl on Archie Manning's arm, though Cam Cleeland and Wesley Walls had short periods of a high level of play in the 1990's.

Johnson's 48 catch, 378 yard, two touchdown performance was solid at times, but as has been the trend in his career, injury limited his playing time. Johnson missed two games in December and while working out on his own, injured his ankle in February.

Unable to practice through the offseason or report to training camp, Johnson was initially placed on the non-football injury list. When second round pick Tracy Porter signed on the second day of practices, the Saints released Johnson.

Johnson's first contract expired and he became a free agent for nearly two weeks in March. The Saints re-signed Johnson to a one-year contract on March 12.

The Saints' depth chart at tight end will start with newly-acquired Jeremy Shockey, backed up by Billy Miller and Mark Campbell. Miller, a former wide receiver, and Campbell, one of the better blocking tight ends in the league, give the Saints a well-rounded lineup.

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