Wide receiver Marques Colston was added to the physically-unable-to-perform list Thursday, which means the eight-year veteran won’t be on the field for the Saints’ first training camp practice Friday.
Saints coach Sean Payton said Colston has a foot injury, but should return within a week. Rookie wide receiver Kenny Stills, a fifth-round draft pick, should be able to practice soon after being put on PUP with a wrist injury.
Earlier this week, the Saints put strong safety Roman Harper, linebacker Victor Butler and cornerback Patrick Robinson on PUP, which means they can’t practice until they can pass a physical.
Butler tore his ACL in one of the team’s final offseason workouts and Payton said Robinson had arthroscopic knee surgery this spring. Harper is recovering from sports hernia surgery.
Payton expects Harper to be ready soon and he said they’ll monitor Robinson weekly although General Manager Mickey Loomis said it may be late in the preseason before he’s full-go.
STANDING PAT: Payton said he and Loomis looked at the situation with Butler, who was projected to be the starting strongside linebacker, but ultimately decided against bringing someone in for training camp.
“We looked closely at it, and yet, we weren’t going to sign someone just to sign someone,” Payton said. “No one special is going to come flying (through) the doors from here on out.”
Payton said they decided to try and develop some of the young players they have. That includes third-year pro Martez Wilson, who backed up Butler during offseason workouts.
BACK IN THE SADDLE: After serving a season-long bounty-related suspension in 2012, Payton will call offensive plays this season for the first time since breaking his leg in an Oct. 16, 2011 game with the Tampa Bay Bucs.
Payton handed play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. for the rest of that season and Carmichael held the job a year ago while Payton was suspended.
Quarterback Drew Brees was pleased to hear that although he said Carmichael did a “phenomenal job.”
“I had Sean Payton in my ear for 51/2 years,” a smiling Brees said. “I’ve got confidence in whomever is calling the plays, but I’m happy to have Sean’s voice in my ear.”
NO EXTENSION YET: Loomis was asked about contract extension talks with tight end Jimmy Graham, who’s entering the final season of the rookie contract he signed in 2010.
With 215 receptions and 25 touchdowns in his first three seasons, Graham is clearly in line to become the highest-paid tight end in the league.
His next deal will likely surpass the contracts given by the New England Patriots to Rob Gronkowsi (eight years, $55.2 million) and former teammate Aaron Hernandez (five years, $40 million).
“I would rather not get into that, those are things that we haven’t (talked about in the past),” Loomis said. “We have some guys in the last year of their contract that are important players to our team, and have been important players to our team.
“We’ll talk about it, and we have talked about them. … We’re just going to see how this unfolds these next few weeks — and it is possible.”
TESTING, TESTING: The players checked in for camp and had a conditioning test Thursday although Brees said it was more strenuous than in the past and resembled the CrossFit regimen Payton uses.
“It wasn’t just running or your normal conditioning test,” Brees said, noting that he expected to be sore in the morning. “It was a combination of weights and an exercise shuttle, so it was all inclusive. It was like a 10-minute wrestling match.”
Payton said all but two players he did not identify completed the test.
WHAT’S NEXT?: The first practice, which is open to the public, is set for 8:50 a.m. at the team’s training facility at 5800 Airline Drive in Metairie.