Ingram, Wilson practice for first time

METAIRIE — Saints’ fans got a glimpse of what they hope to be a big part of the team’s future Sunday when running back Mark Ingram and linebacker Martez Wilson practiced for the first time.

Ingram, a first-round draft pick, and Wilson, a third-rounder, signed their contracts Saturday and were thrown right into the mix for their first practice.

Ingram worked in a rotation with Pierre Thomas and Lynell Hamilton, while Wilson, a 6-foot-4, 252-pounder, was the starter on the strong side because veteran Scott Shanle can’t practice until Thursday.

Saints coach Sean Payton was impressed by what he saw from Ingram, who hasn’t had the benefit of two minicamps and organized team activities that rookies normally get.

“We were trying to bring him up to speed and get him the snaps he needs,” said Payton. “I thought he did a really good job with the reps he had today, and we’ll continue to build on that.”

WELCOMING PARTY: A couple of veteran defenders took the liberty of giving Ingram a rude welcome to the NFL during the rookie’s first carry in team drills.

And it wasn’t a carry to remember.

Ingram tried to run to the left on a stretch play before being engulfed by several defenders near the sideline. Thinking the play was whistled dead, Ingram relaxed as defensive end Will Smith held him from behind and middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma punched the ball out.

After having his helmet knocked off the process, Ingram got a few words from Payton about finishing the play as he headed back to the huddle.

“When the play is over they’re still stripping the ball so button it up,” Ingram said. “I thought it was over, but they stripped the ball. It’s all good … it didn’t happen any more. So, corrected.”

WASHINGTON AGREES: The Saints agreed to terms Sunday with former Oakland Raiders and Baltimore Ravens cornerback Fabian Washington on a one-year deal.

The Saints are bringing Washington in because cornerback Tracy Porter has not passed his physical yet as he continues to recover from offseason surgery on his left knee. Porter hopes to be ready for the season opener on Sept. 8.

Payton said the Saints wanted to bring in another veteran to help out while Porter’s rehab continues. Washington, a former first-round draft pick who has 58 NFL starts in his first six NFL seasons, filled the bill.

“You want to have as many good players here that can compete,” Payton said. “Tracy is nicked up now. And the season will be quicker upon us than it normally is. It’s being smart when you look at our total numbers.”

INJURY REPORT: Sitting out Sunday’s practice were Porter, RB Chris Ivory (foot), T Charles Brown (hamstring), DE Greg Romeus (knee), G Carl Johnson (hamstring), CB Josh Gatlin (thumb/knee) and LB Jerimiha Hunter (Achilles’).

Payton also said free agent wide receiver Michael Galatas, a Lacombe native, had some hamstring issues during the 2-hour, 30-minute practice.

COOLING DOWN: Payton poked some fun Sunday at the unrestricted free agents who can’t practice until the new collective bargaining agreement is finally ratified by the players on Thursday.

About 90 minutes into the steamy practice, Payton brought his players over and had them take a knee while the newly-signed UFAs stood behind him.

After a little talk, Payton motioned for team caterer Dean Pigeon to come onto the field with a large tray of Shirley Temples that were distributed to the players who weren’t working.

“That was one of the provisions in the new CBA that players weren’t practicing,” Payton said tongue-in-cheek, “so we brought them Shirley Temples. I wanted to make sure we were abiding by all the rules.”

EYE-CATCHING: Free safety Malcolm Jenkins intercepted a pass that was tipped in 7-on-7 drills after being chastised by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for just knocking down a pass intended for 6-foot-6 tight end Jimmy Graham. … Free agent safety Isa Abdul-Quddus made a nice one-handed interception off quarterback Sean Canfield as he ran stride-for-stride with tight end Harry Flaherty down the middle of the field. … Wide receiver Montez Billings raced 60 yards for a touchdown after cornerback Mark Parson gambled on an interception and came up empty.

First-round pick Ingram signs

METAIRIE — The Saints got one of their two-first round picks signed and on the field Saturday morning just before they wrapped up their second practice of training camp.

Running back Mark Ingram, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Alabama, signed his contract and hurriedly threw on a uniform before jogging onto the field just after 10:30 a.m.

Ingram was merely a spectator, however, for the final 35 minutes of the 2-hour, 15-minute workout. He’ll likely be in the mix for Sunday’s practice at 8:50 a.m., which is also open to the public.

Ingram was the second of the Saints’ two first-round draft picks in April. He was selected with the 28th overall selection after the Saints acquired the pick from the New England Patriots in exchange for their second-rounder this year and a first-round selection in 2012.

The Saints also came to terms Saturday morning with linebacker Martez Wilson, the first of their two third-round picks. Wilson, a 6-foot-4, 250-pounder, should also see his first action of camp Sunday.

The signing of Ingram and Wilson means the Saints have five of their six draft picks under contract.

The only one that remains unsigned yet is their top pick — defensive end Cameron Jordan, the 24th overall selection in the draft.

Saints, Harper agree on new contract

METAIRIE – The Saints announced Friday night that they have agreed to contract terms with another of their top unrestricted free agents — starting strong safety Roman Harper.

Harper, a six-year veteran, was believed to be one of the Saints’ priorities when teams were allowed to begin negotiating with unrestricted free agents on Tuesday, one day after players approved a new collective bargaining agreement.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Harper, a standout at the University of Alabama, was a Pro Bowl pick the past two years and is a five-year starter — opening all 67 games he’s played in — since being chosen in the second round of the 2006 draft.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Harper’s deal is for four years and $28 million.

MORE AGREEMENTS: Earlier Friday, the Saints said linebacker Danny Clark and safety Pierson Prioleau, both unrestricted free agents, agreed to terms and will also return to the club.

The Saints also agreed to terms with fullback Korey Hall, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Green Bay Packers last season; defensive end Curtis Johnson; and guard Dan Gay.

Gay, a Lafayette native and St. Thomas More High School grad, was a three-year starter at Baylor. The 6-foot-4, 303-pounder spent time on the New York Jets practice squad in 2009.

Those players, as well as former running back/kick returner Darren Sproles, who agreed to a four-year, $14 million contract late Thursday night, cannot take part in any physical activity until the new CBA is ratified by players — which is expected to be Aug. 4.

Saints terminate contract of Gay, two others

METAIRIE – The Saints terminated the contracts of three veteran players — including former LSU standout Randall Gay — coach Sean Payton said after his team’s first training camp practice Friday morning.

Gay, an eight-year veteran, was actually terminated Thursday although Payton didn’t announce it during his pre-training camp news conference.

Gay, a cornerback, suffered a concussion in the second game of the 2010 season and eventually played in just four games before being put on injured reserve with recurring symptoms of the head injury.

The former Brusly High School star, who also missed one game in 2009 with a concussion, was scheduled to receive $3.5 million in base pay this season in the final year of a four-year deal he signed in 2008.

The Saints also terminated the contracts of long snapper Jason Kyle and linebacker Stanley Arnoux after they failed their physicals Thursday.

Kyle missed the second half of the 2010 season with a shoulder injury and Arnoux, who was sidelined for his entire rookie season in 2009 because of a torn Achilles’ tendon, played in just nine games last year before suffering another Achilles’ injury.

–Payton also announced that the Saints have agreed to terms with linebacker Danny Clark, one of their unrestricted free agents, and former San Diego Chargers running back/kick returner Darren Sproles.

Clark is expected to sign his contract later Friday when veteran UFAs can finally sign, while Sproles is expected to be in camp in a couple of days, Payton said.

Neither player can participate in any physical activity with the team, including practice, until the NFL Players Association recertifies and the new CBA is ratified by the players — which is expected to be around Aug. 4.

–Six players did not take part in Friday’s practice, which lasted just more than two hours, because they failed physicals Thursday when they reported for camp.

Not practicing were RB Chris Ivory (foot), CB Tracy Porter (knee), P Thomas Morstead (toe), T Charles Brown (hamstring), DE Greg Romeus (knee) and G Carl Johnson (hamstring).

All six players worked on the side with trainer Scottie Patton.

–Running back Pierre Thomas, who had surgery in January on an ankle injury that limited him to six games last season, was able to work Friday.

Thomas said he felt good even though he’s only about “85 percent.” He said there was a little rust from the injury, especially with his ball carrying because they had no minicamps or organized team activities.

He showed it when he fumbled twice early in practice, including on the first play of the first team drills of the season. He credited the defense, but said he will have to work on staying focused.

“I have to tip my cap to them because they did a great job of getting to the ball,” Thomas said. “But I have to stay focused on holding onto the ball because it is so important. I’m probably going to sleep with a football tonight.”

 –Safety Johnathon Amaya, who was acquired in the trade that sent Reggie Bush to the Miami Dolphins on Thursday, was present and took the field with a visor on before switching to a helmet early in the practice.

Amaya was held out until Bush passed his physical in Miami on Friday morning and the trade was approved.

Free agents Bushrod, Shanle returning to Saints

METAIRIE — After trading running back Reggie Bush to the Miami Dolphins earlier in the day, the Saints continued to work Thursday on re-signing some of their unrestricted free agents and rookie draft picks.

In a news conference Thursday afternoon, Saints coach Sean Payton announced the team had reached agreements with six of their veterans who had become free agents as well as three of the six players that they selected in this year’s draft.

Payton said weakside linebacker Scott Shanle, safety Chris Reis and linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar have agreed to return to the team and will sign their contracts when veteran players are allowed to do so at 4 p.m. Friday.

Also returning are wide receiver Lance Moore, tackle Jermon Bushrod and cornerback Leigh Torrence, who all previously announced via their Twitter accounts that they had come to terms with the club.

Moore and Torrence reached agreement on Wednesday, one day after the Saints could begin to negotiate with free agents. Shanle, Bushrod and Reis agreed on Thursday.

Also agreeing to contracts Thursday were cornerback Johnny Patrick, the team’s third-round pick in the draft, as well as both of their seventh-round selections — linebacker Nate Bussey and defensive end Greg Romeus.

Their two first-round picks — defensive end Cameron Jordan and running back Mark Ingram — as well as linebacker Martez Wilson, a third-round selection, haven’t come to terms yet.

The Saints also reportedly reached an agreement with former Seattle Seahawks linebacker Will Herring, but can’t announce that deal until Herring officially signs with the team Friday afternoon.

CB Torrence, two draft picks agree to deals

In addition to trading running back Reggie Bush to the Miami Dolphins on Thursday morning, the Saints have been extremely busy — like a lot of other teams around the league.

Late Wednesday night, the Saints came to terms with reserve cornerback Leigh Torrence, one of their own unrestricted free agents, and Thursday announced they reached agreement with their two seventh-round draft picks — linebacker Nate Bussey and defensive end Greg Romeus.

The Saints also apparently have lost their first UFA, defensive tackle Remi Ayodele. The Times-Picayune is reporting that Ayodele, a two-year starter, has agreed to a three-year, $9 million deal with the Minnesota Vikings.

On Wednesday, the Saints got wide receiver Lance Moore, another UFA, to agree to a new five-year contract and agreed to a three-year deal with Seattle Seahawks linebacker Will Herring.

The Saints report to training camp on Thursday with physicals, conditioning tests and meetings on tap before the first practice at 8:50 a.m. Friday at the team’s training facility in Metairie.

Friday’s practice is open to the public with gates opening at 8:05 a.m. For more camp information, visit the website at www.neworleanssaints.com.

WR Moore agrees to five-year contract

The Saints have apparently agreed with veteran wide receiver Lance Moore on a five-year contract.

While there was no official confirmation from the Saints organization, Moore, a six-year veteran, announced on his Twitter account that he would be returning to the team.

Moore posted this tweet: “Welp, its been real new orleans……..But let’s make the next five years even more real. I’m coming back baby!!! #whodat”

Moore was one of the Saints’ top priorities among the 28 free agents they had when NFL teams could begin negotiating with unrestricted free agents on Tuesday morning, less than 24 hours after players agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement.

Terms of the deal were not available.

In 59 career games with the Saints, Moore, one of the team’s most popular players, has caught 192 passes for 2,156 yards and 22 touchdowns. He ranked second on the team last season in receptions (66) and receiving yards (763) behind Marques Colston and led the club with eight receiving scores — one more than Colston.

Known as a possession receiver who doesn’t mind going over the middle to make the tough catch, Moore’s 80-yard scoring grab against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3 was the longest offensive touchdown of the season for the Saints.

When Colston was injured for the first half of the 2008 season, Moore became a favorite target of quarterback Drew Brees. Moore finished that season with career-high totals in three categories — receptions (79), yards (928) and TDs (10).

Also, the Times-Picayune is reporting that the Saints have agreed to a three-year contract with former Seattle Seahawks linebacker Will Herring. The agreement was confirmed by Herring’s agent, George Mavrikes.

Herring, a 6-foot-3, 241-pounder who played at Auburn, was a fifth-round draft pick of the Seahawks in 2007. He made only seven starts in four seasons with Seattle, playing primarily as a nickel linebacker.

The Saints also announced that they agreed to terms with 21 undrafted free agents — safeties Isa Abdul-Quddus and DeAndre McDaniel; tackles Harold Beilby and Mike Smith; wide receivers John Chiles, Jarred Fayson, Michael Galatas and Joseph Morgan; quarterback Ryan Colburn; tight ends Harry Flaherty and Michael Higgins; running back C.J. Gable; cornerback Josh Gatlin; linebackers Jeremiha Hunter and Dwight Robertson; fullback Kolby Hurt; guard Carl Johnson; defensive tackle Dexter Larimore; long snapper Kyle Nelson; kicker Jacob Rogers; and center Ryan Taylor.

Saints agree with 21 undrafted free agents

The Saints have announced that they’ve agreed to contracts with 21 undrafted free agents.

 Here is the list:

 S Isa Abdul-Quddus (Fordham)

T Harold Beilby (Marian)

WR John Chiles (Texas)

QB Ryan Colburn (Fresno State)

WR Jarred Fayson (Illinois)

TE Harry Flaherty (Princeton)

RB C.J. Gable (Southern Cal)

WR Michael Galatas (Millsaps)

CB Josh Gatlin (North Dakota State)

TE Michael Higgins (Nebraska-Omaha)

LB Jeremiha Hunter (Iowa)

FB Kolby Hurt (Missouri State)

G Carl Johnson (Florida)

DT Dexter Larimore (Ohio State)

S DeAndre McDaniel (Clemson)

WR Joseph Morgan (Walsh)

LS Kyle Nelson (New Mexico State)

LB Dwight Roberson (Oreogn State)

K Jacob Rogers (Cincinnati)

T Mike Smith (Nebraska)

C Ryan Taylor (UCLA)

Camp practices open to fans

The New Orleans Saints will open 16 practices to the public, weather permitting, when the team begins training camp on Thursday.

The Saints released a training camp schedule this morning with the first on-field workout to be held Friday from 8:50-11:30 a.m. at the team’s training facility, located at 5800 Airline Drive in Metairie.

Practices on Friday and Saturday, which is also scheduled for 8:50 a.m., will be held without pads in compliance with new collective bargaining agreement rules. The first padded practice, which is also open to the public, is set for 8:50 a.m. Sunday.

The camp will run from July 28 to Aug. 21, which is the day after the team’s second exhibition game against the Houston Texans in Reliant Stadium. Players report to camp on Thursday for physicals, conditioning and team meetings.

The practices open to the public are on July 29, 30, 31 and Aug. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. Open practices will begin at 8:50 a.m. with the exception of the Aug. 8 and 14 workouts, which will start at 4:30 p.m., and an Aug. 6 scrimmage (time to be determined).

For more information, visit the Saints website.