Eric Olsen felt good about his chances of making the Saints for a second season in a row as a backup offensive lineman until he stepped on someone else’s foot during training camp in 2013 and suffered a Lisfranc injury.
Olsen then wondered whether his odds of cracking the roster were all in his head when the Saints soon waived him with an injury settlement — and he was relieved to learn that they weren’t when New Orleans re-signed him Tuesday, about 13 months later.
“I always had the feeling they still liked me here, and that it was an injury-related thing that ended up happening,” Olsen said Wednesday. “It was good to know that I wasn’t just imagining that and that they still know what I can do and still feel comfortable enough to bring me back.”
Olsen — a guard and center in college — entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft choice in 2010 for Denver out of Notre Dame. He was active for one game in Denver and was waived.
He then spent some time on Washington’s practice squad in 2011 before signing with the Saints for the postseason that year, and he was active for 16 games with the Saints in 2012 as an extra blocker.
The Saints then waived Olsen with an injury settlement in early September 2013 after he hurt his foot in the summer. The settlement provided him with money through the seventh week of the 2013 regular season, but he would’ve rather remained a member of the team on injured reserve.
“It’s frustrating to be (let go) — I would’ve liked to have been on IR for the year as a worst-case scenario,” said Olsen, who had been a free agent after brief stints with Pittsburgh and Tennessee following his initial tenure in New Orleans. “The circumstances were tough.”
But Saints center Jonathan Goodwin has left three of the last four games early with leg injuries. He may not be able to play when the Saints (2-4) host Green Bay (5-2) on Sunday night, and New Orleans turned to Olsen to add depth under Goodwin’s backup, second-year guard/center Tim Lelito.
Olsen had worked out for the Saints earlier this regular season.
“He has experience,” Saints coach Sean Payton said Wednesday when asked about repatriating Olsen. “He’s a versatile player.”