After having three linebackers go down with injuries in their last game with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Saints quickly made a trade Monday night to shore up that area of the team.
Hours after interim coach Joe Vitt told reporters that starting linebackers Curtis Lofton and David Hawthorne would be out for a while with injuries, the Saints dealt a undisclosed draft pick to the Seattle Seahawks for veteran linebacker Barrett Ruud.
An eight-year veteran, the 6-foot-2, 241-pound Ruud played six seasons with the Tampa Bay Bucs and last year was with the Tennessee Titans before joining the Seahawks this spring as an unrestricted free agent.
Ruud started 68 games for the Bucs and led the team in tackles for four consecutive seasons from 2007-10 — collecting a career-high 205 in 2009.
Lofton, the starter middle linebacker, came out of Friday’s game with a high-ankle sprain. Hawthorne, who started the first three preseason games on the weak side, suffered a knee injury and underwent arthroscopic surgery Monday to repair a torn meniscus.
They join backup linebacker Chris Chamberlain, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Jaguars, on the sideline. However, Lofton and Hawthorne are expected to return this season.
According to Vitt, Lofton should be back in time for the regular-season opener on Sept. 9 against the Washington Redskins. Vitt is hopeful that Hawthorne will be ready for that game as well.
“We certainly think Curtis is going to be ready for the first game,” Vitt said during his daily news conference. “The diagnosis on David is encouraging. He hurt it earlier in the game and played on it, so he’s got a chance to be back for that (Washington) game.”
Chamberlain, who tore the ACL in his left knee in the second quarter Friday night, Lofton and Hawthorne were all signed as unrestricted free agents this spring to give the Saints some much-needed playmakers at the position.