August 16, 2010

Meachem back, Betts in, Beavers cut

The Saints have made a trio of roster moves today.

WR Robert Meachem has been activated off the PUP, veteran RB Ladell Betts has been signed and rookie WR Larry Beavers has been cut.

Meachem is healthy after offseason toe surgery and has been activated off of the Physically Unable to Perform list.  Meachem said recently that he could play in a game but is not pain free, though he won't practice until being cleared by doctors tomorrow.  He has been running with a metal splint taped to his foot.

Elsewhere in the NFC South, another star wide receiver has been activated from the PUP in Carolina, two months after breaking his arm in a flag football game.

Meachem still counted against 80-man roster limit, but placing him on the PUP at the start of camp gave the Saints the option to keep him on the PUP list for the first six weeks of the season. That may be the path the Saints take with FS Darren Sharper, whose offseason knee surgery keeps him on the PUP.  LB Clint Ingram is also on the PUP, though with yesterday's moves to shuffle the outside linebacker jobs, he may be out of contention.

The Saints also signed veteran RB Ladell Betts, the long time Redskins runningback.  The Saints worked out Betts last week after Pierre Thomas' scary but minor wrist injury.  Betts, 31, played all eight of his NFL seasons in Washington, though only once did he record more than 93 carries in all those years.

His one chance as a long term starter was the last nine games of 2006, when Betts carried 245 times for 1145 yards and four touchdowns, and also caught 53 passes for 445 yards and one touchdown.  Betts carried the ball 531 times in his seven other seasons, never scoring more than two touchdowns.

A reliable receiver and a sturdy, hard runner, Betts was a second round pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, out of Iowa.  Betts started for four years at Iowa, leading the Hawkeyes in rushing from 1998-2001. Betts has worn #46 since college, a number now worn by street free agent FB Marcus Mailei. 

Betts is coming off a significant knee injury suffered in Week 11 of last year, a tear to both the ACL and MCL in his knee.

To make room for Betts, the Saints surprisingly released WR Larry Beavers.  The undrafted rookie from Wesleyan practiced as the #4 wide receiver at times against the Patriots, and showed remarkable speed with a kickoff return touchdown in the second half of the preseason opener.

The 5'10, 186 pound Beavers has been squeezed out of a numbers game that saw Meachem return to duty and Adrian Arrington also impress against the Patriots. 

Behind Colston, Henderson, Meachem and Moore, the Saints still have rookies Montez Billings and Andy Tanner and veteran kickoff return men Courtney Roby, Rod Harper and Mark Bradley.

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