All posts by Ramon Antonio Vargas

Ramon Antonio Vargas has covered the Saints for The Advocate since 2013. He can be reached at rvargas@theadvocate.com and is @RVargasAdvocate on Twitter.

Brodrick Bunkley tore quad vs. Baltimore, is likely out for rest of season, NFL Network reports

New Orleans Saints nose tackle Brodrick Bunkley (77) is tended to after being injured in the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman) ORG XMIT: NYOTK

New Orleans Saints nose tackle Brodrick Bunkley (77) is tended to after being injured in the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman) ORG XMIT: NYOTK

It is believed Saints nose tackle Brodrick Bunkley tore his quadriceps in his team’s 34-27 loss at home against Baltimore, and his season is most probably over, the NFL Network is reporting.

Bunkley hurt his leg on a second-and-7 for the Ravens at midfield trying to stop a rush by running back Justin Forsett, who finished with 22 carries for a career-high 182 yards and two touchdowns. He walked off the field with the help of trainers and didn’t return.

The NFL’s Ian Rapoport then tweeted about Bunkley’s injury at approximately 8 a.m. Tuesday. He did not name a source. The Saints haven’t commented on Rapoport’s report on Bunkley, which is standard for the team whenever an injury to a player is involved.

If Bunkley is indeed ruled out for the remainder of the campaign for the Saints (4-7), he’d be the third New Orleans defender to suffer a season-ending injury in as many weeks. A team that is ranked 27th on defense and surrendered a staggering 1,184 yards as well as 88 points in three consecutive setbacks at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in November can ill afford more major injuries to its personnel.

Rookie backup safety Vinnie Sunseri broke his left forearm attempting to make a special-teams tackle in a 27-24 loss at home against San Francisco on Nov. 9. Safety Rafael Bush, a fourth-year pro, fractured his right fibula in a 27-10 defeat at home against Cincinnati a week later.

A fourth defender, three-time Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd, has been out of action since sustaining a meniscus tear in one of his knees prior to an Oct. 5 victory at home against Tampa Bay.

At nose tackle, in addition to Bunkley, the Saints have 2013 third-round draft selection John Jenkins and Brandon Deaderick, who’s in his first year with New Orleans. Jenkins saw significant action at nose tackle in five regular-season games that Bunkley missed with a calf injury at the beginning of last year.

Bunkley has 17 tackles (eight solo) while starting each of the Saints’ 11 games this year. He joined New Orleans in 2012 and is in his ninth NFL season.

Ravens bus involved in traffic accident with no injuries in New Orleans area

A bus carrying members of the Ravens organization was in a traffic accident in the New Orleans area on Sunday, a day before the Baltimore team is supposed to play the Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Ravens spokesman Chad Steele described the accident as a “small fender bender” in an email.

“Bus was not damaged, and we are pulling into the hotel now,” Steele wrote to The Advocate early Sunday evening.

Another Ravens spokesman, Patrick Gleason, said in a separate email that a team bus was rear-ended by a car at a slow speed. Neither anyone on the bus or the driver of the car that hit the bus were injured, Gleason said.

Many learned about the crash when former Ravens receiver Qadry Ismail — an analyst on the team’s radio broadcast crew — published a message on Twitter reading, “We got an accident! Bus #4 got side swiped by a car! #Ravens #NOLA.”

Ismail — who coincidentally played for the Saints in 1998 — later tweeted, “All okay! Not even a delay.”

Steele did not immediately respond to a message asking for a description of the location where the accident had occurred. Calls to various local law enforcement agencies did not immediately yield any more information, including whether anyone had been cited in the incident.

The Ravens are 6-4 heading into their match-up with the Saints (4-6).

Sunday marked the second time a crash involving an NFL team’s bus occurred. On Nov. 2, a pair of buses carrying members of Washington’s ball club collided en route to a game in Minnesota. There were no injuries in that incident either.

Note: This post was edited after it was first published to add more details, including a statement by Ravens spokesman Patrick Gleason.

Khiry Robinson, Kyle Knox out for Saints’ game against Ravens on Monday night

Saints running back Khiry Robinson will miss his fifth straight game because of a hurt forearm when the Ravens visit the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Monday night.

New Orleans Saints running back Khiry Robinson (29) runs against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

New Orleans Saints running back Khiry Robinson (29) runs against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The 4-6 Saints on Saturday ruled out Robinson and reserve linebacker Kyle Knox (hand) with their injuries after they missed practices Thursday, Friday and Saturday. This will be the eighth game for which Knox is absent.

Wide receiver Robert Meachem — who’s missed the past three games with a hurt ankle — is questionable after being limited all week.

Among those who are probable are running back Pierre Thomas (rib/shoulder), who has been out the past four games but was a limited participant in team drills all week. Other probables are running back Travaris Cadet (hamstring), linebacker Curtis Lofton (ankle), cornerback Keenan Lewis (knee), tackle Zach Strief (chest) and running back Mark Ingram (shoulder).

Lewis, Lofton and Cadet missed Thursday but were limited participants in team drills Friday and Saturday. Strief and Ingram fully practiced all week despite being listed on the injury report.

Baltimore ruled out wide receiver Michael Campanaro (thigh) and guard Jah Reid (hand). Probable despite being listed on the injury report are Ravens tight end Owen Daniels (not injury related), linebacker Daryl Smith (not injury related), fullback Kyle Jusczyk (foot), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (not injury related), linebacker Terrell Suggs (not injury related) and guard Marshal Yanda (knee).

The Ravens will arrive in New Orleans with a 6-4 record.

Jonathan Goodwin has no plans to leave the side of agent Ben Dogra, fired by CAA

New Orleans Saints center Jonathan Goodwin (55) gets set against the Detroit Lions during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson) ORG XMIT: OTK128

New Orleans Saints center Jonathan Goodwin (55) gets set against the Detroit Lions during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson) ORG XMIT: OTK128

Like the vast majority of the public, Saints center Jonathan Goodwin isn’t sure why the talent and sports agency CAA recently fired his agent, Rakshpal Ben “Ben” Dogra.

All the 13-year NFL veteran knew Friday was he had no plans to leave his professional relationship with Dogra.

“I haven’t reached out to him because I’m sure right now it’s a hectic time,” said Goodwin, who has spent six total seasons with the Saints. “But … up until this point, he’s been good to me, so I don’t see a reason right now to turn my back on him.”

Considered by Forbes to have been the seventh-most powerful agent in 2013 with almost $950 million in contracts and some $28 million in commissions, Dogra was terminated by CAA for causes that weren’t immediately specified, according to various stories published on Nov. 13. Names on the St. Louis-based superagent’s client list include A.J. Green, Robert Griffin III, Jeremy Maclin, the embattled Adrian Peterson, Richard Sherman, Mario Williams, Patrick Willis and Goodwin.

ESPN has reported that Dogra’s clients could opt to keep working with him, stay with CAA or begin the process of finding new representation. Goodwin on Friday said his intention was to stay with Dogra in part because he wasn’t too acquainted with anyone else at CAA.

“Right now, there’s no pressing need to worry about anything,” said Goodwin, who’s on a one-year playing deal with the Saints worth up to $1.02 million. “I’m sure in the offseason or later in the year, once things calm down, I’m going to try to reach out to him.”

Goodwin was in his fifth year in the NFL when he first joined the Saints in 2006. He was a starter on the Saints team that won Super Bowl XLIV and remained in New Orleans through 2010 but then went to San Francisco in 2011 for three seasons.

He appeared in three NFC title games as well as a Super Bowl with the 49ers before returning to the Saints in June as a free agent.

Goodwin this year has started eight games for the Saints (4-6). Injuries sidelined him for two games in late October and knocked him out of three other earlier contests.

The Saints and Goodwin host Baltimore (6-4) on Monday night.

Saints sign rookie punt returner/receiver Jalen Saunders from Seattle’s practice squad

A day after placing rookie receiver/punt returner Brandin Cooks on season-ending injured reserve with a fractured thumb, the Saints on Wednesday signed rookie former fourth-round draft choice Jalen Saunders to the 53-man roster, according to an NFL source.

The Jets drafted Saunders, who returned six punts for 26 yards over three games for them. New York cut him in late September after he muffed punts in back-to-back games. He turned the ball over to the Jets’ opponent on one of the punts he muffed.

Saunders subsequently spent a total of six games in Arizona and Seattle but didn’t stick with either team or record a statistic. He was on the Seahawks’ practice squad when the Saints signed him away on Wednesday.

In a related transaction, a source said the Saints cut running back Brian Leonard, who was in New Orleans (4-6) for one game.

Saunders’ signing indicates that he could audition to handle some of the punt return duties Cooks vacated when he broke his thumb in Sunday’s loss at home against Cincinnati. And Leonard’s departure could mean Khiry Robinson or Pierre Thomas — running backs who have been out injured the past four games — may soon return to action.

The 5-foot-9, 157-pound Saunders returned 20 punts for 308 yards with two touchdowns last year in college for Oklahoma. The diminutive receiver caught 61 passes for 729 yards and eight touchdowns. He ran the 40-yard dash in an impressive 4.44 seconds at the scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Saunders joins a receiver corps that includes veteran Marques Colston, second-year pro Kenny Stills (also out of Oklahoma), Robert Meachem (who’s missed a couple of games with a hurt ankle), Joseph Morgan and Nick Toon. The vast majority of the production out of that group comes from Colston (34 catches for 536 yards and a touchdown) and Stills (31 grabs for 431 yards and two TDs).

Cooks, a first-round draft selection out of Oregon State, was second on the Saints in receptions (53), receiving yards (550) and touchdown catches (three), one of which was a 50-yarder. He had also carried the ball seven times for 73 yards and another touchdown when he got hurt and was shut down for the rest of the campaign.

The Saints host Baltimore (4-6) on Monday night.

Nick Underhill contributed to this report.

This post has been updated since it was first published, mostly to add details.

Saints LB Curtis Lofton: ‘You don’t express (frustrations) to the media’

Members of the media love how frank and honest second-year Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro is with reporters.

New Orleans Saints' Curtis Lofton (50) on the sidelines against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. The Saints won 28-10. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

New Orleans Saints’ Curtis Lofton (50) on the sidelines against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. The Saints won 28-10. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

After a conference call Monday, it appears New Orleans linebacker Curtis Lofton is less enamored with that aspect of Vaccaro’s being.

Lofton addressed frustrations Vaccaro expressed after the Saints lost their sixth of 10 games so far this season on Sunday by a score of 27-10 at home to Cincinnati.

Among other things, Vaccaro wondered whether the Saints’ makeup was altered by the offseason departures of defensive veterans such as Roman Harper, Malcolm Jenkins, Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma, all owners of a championship ring from New Orleans’ victory in Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7, 2010.

The “vibe,” Vaccaro said, was different on the field. To be fair, Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis communicated similar thoughts, but Lofton was asked to comment Monday on what Vaccaro had said.

Lofton remarked, “When you express your frustrations, you don’t express them to the media. You keep that in house. He’s not the only player that feels that way. There’s been numerous guys that have expressed the same feeling, but there’s a different way of doing it. That’s how it’s been handled here in the past, and that’s how it needs to be handled here in the future, too.”

To paint a complete picture of the matter, Saints coach Sean Payton weighed in as well, and he didn’t mind Vaccaro’s stance.

“When you watch that game towards the end and there was a pretty good chance the score was going to end in their favor, I love how (Vaccaro) was playing,” Payton said. “I love the attitude and the toughness he brings and the frustration that comes with it.”

Vaccaro’s and Lewis’ statements came after New Orleans’ defense — ranked 21st in the league before Monday Night Football — had let the Bengals convert 9-of-13 third-down situations, a big reason why the Saints had lost at home for the second straight week.

They’d dropped a contest to San Francisco seven days earlier after winning the previous 20 games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome that Payton had coached them.

Despite the difference in opinion on venting to reporters, Lofton and Vaccaro are both among the Saints’ most productive players on defense.

A Saint since 2012, Lofton leads the team in tackles with 90 (63 solo), and he has a fumble recovery to his name this year. Vaccaro — a first-round draft selection out of Texas in 2013 — is third on the team in tackles (49 solo), and he has an interception and a quarterback sack this season.

Note: This post has been updated to include a comment from Payton. Guerry Smith contributed to this report.

Saints wideout Brandin Cooks has surgery on broken thumb, will be out 4-6 weeks, agent says

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks (10) carries on a pass play in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Rogelio Solis)

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks (10) carries on a pass play in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Rogelio Solis)

Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks has had surgery to repair the thumb he fractured in Sunday’s 27-10 loss to Cincinnati at home, and doctors estimate he could be back in four to six weeks, his agent Jeff Sperbeck announced via Twitter on Monday.

Cooks’ verified Twitter account sent out its own messages Monday attempting to assuage the concerns of Saints fans.

“People, there is nothing to worry (about),” read the dispatches from Cooks’ account. “This is a part of his plan. I just smile … (and) just watch and see God … work.

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks (10) fumbles while being tackled by Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Jayson DiManche (51), Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver James Wright (86), and Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard (21) in a NFL football game in the Superdome in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014. Cooks broke his thumb on the play.

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON–New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks (10) fumbles while being tackled by Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Jayson DiManche (51), Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver James Wright (86), and Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard (21) in a NFL football game in the Superdome in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014. Cooks broke his thumb on the play.

“The devil saw an opportunity to try to break my relationship with Christ, but little did he know. Death nor pain can do that Haha devil is wack.”

Cooks’ positive outlook may not do much to console distressed Who Dats.

His importance to the Saints is obvious to even casual observers. The rookie first-round draft selection out of Oregon State is second on the team in receptions (53), receiving yards (550) and touchdown catches (three), trailing only star tight end Jimmy Graham (59 grabs for 623 yards and seven TDs). He’s also carried the ball seven times for 73 yards and another touchdown, and he’s been the primary punt returner for the team.

These are crucial times for the Saints (4-6), who have six games left this regular season. Despite dropping their last two games, both at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, they sit second in a weak NFC South whose leader, Atlanta, is also 4-6. Atlanta is technically in first place because it beat the Saints at the Georgia Dome in Week 1, but the teams play each other again in New Orleans on Dec. 21.

All division victors in the NFL are guaranteed a home playoff game.

Under Cooks in the Saints’ pecking order are veteran receiver Marques Colston (34 catches for 536 yards and a touchdown) and second-year pro Kenny Stills (31 grabs for 431 yards and two TDs, including a 9-yarder against the Bengals). Below Colston and Stills are players such as Robert Meachem (five catches for 85 yards), Nick Toon (no receptions) and Joseph Morgan (one grab for seven yards). Stills and Morgan are obvious candidates to replace Cooks at least in returning punts, given their speed; and so is backup running back Travaris Cadet, who handles fielding kickoffs.

It’s not been confirmed when Cooks was hurt. But he fielded a punt Sunday at the Saints’ 17 with about 3:30 to go, returned it four yards and fumbled the ball after he was hit in the right hand by the helmet of Bengals defender Jayson DiManche. The Saints recovered the fumble; but Cooks walked away from the pile of players over the ball clutching the area above his right wrist with his left hand, and he grimaced in apparent pain in view of a television camera.

The injury is the latest frustration in a season where little has gone to plan for the Saints. Aside from the lackluster record, there’s been numerous key injuries, including the season-ending knee ligament tear to three-time Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd ahead of Week 5.

Another key member of the Saints’ offense missed three games earlier this season with a broken thumb: running back Mark Ingram, who has racked up 618 rushing yards, 138 carries and six touchdowns to head the Saints’ ground game this year.

A second safety — rookie Vinnie Sunseri, a mainstay on the special-teams coverage units — fractured his arm in a loss to San Francisco on Nov. 9.

Yet another safety, Rafael Bush, broke his right fibula making a tackle late in the loss to Cincinnati.

Bush was hurt about 80 seconds before Cooks was in terms of elapsed game time. Both Cooks’ and Bush’s fractures occurred while the Saints were down by the final score of 27-10; and there was essentially no chance of a comeback at that tardy stage of the game, enhancing the general sense of frustration surrounding the injuries.

Saints coach Sean Payton on Monday declined to discuss the injuries to Cooks and Bush, who initially believed he had a more serious tibia fracture but could nonetheless also miss four to six weeks.

Perhaps second-year safety Kenny Vaccaro best summed it up for the Saints after the Bengals game when he wearily said, “We’re banged up.”

The Saints host Baltimore (6-4) next Monday night.

Note: This post was edited to mention that it was Bengals defender Jayson DiManche’s helmet which hit Brandin Cooks in the right hand, caused the fumble and apparently caused his thumb fracture. The official game book credited Darqueze Dennard as having hit Cooks on the fumbled punt return.

Brandin Cooks out 2-4 weeks with broken thumb, per reports

Take it as proof that things can always get worse — Saints receiver Brandin Cooks broke his thumb in Sunday’s 27-10 loss at home to Cincinnati, according to reports Monday from multiple media outlets, including Cox Sports Television, ESPN and NFL Network.

Estimates are that Cooks will be out two to four weeks for the Saints (4-6), who currently sit second in a weak NFC South whose leader is Atlanta, also 4-6. Atlanta is in first place because it beat the Saints at the Georgia Dome in Week 1, but the teams play each other again in New Orleans on Dec. 21.

Cooks’ importance to the Saints is obvious to even casual observers. The rookie first-round draft selection out of Oregon State is second on the team in receptions (53), yards (550) and touchdown catches (three), one of which was a 50-yarder. He’s also carried the ball seven times for 73 yards and another touchdown, and he’s been the primary punt returner for the team.

Under Cooks in the Saints’ pecking order are veteran receiver Marques Colston (34 catches for 536 yards and a touchdown) and second-year pro Kenny Stills (31 grabs for 431 yards and two TDs, including a 9-yarder against the Bengals). Below Colston and Stills are players such as Robert Meachem, Nick Toon and Joseph Morgan. Stills and Morgan are obvious candidates to replace Cooks at least in returning punts, given their speed.

It’s not been confirmed when Cooks was hurt. But he fielded a punt Sunday at the Saints’ 17 with about 3:30 to go, returned it four yards and fumbled the ball after being hit by Bengals defender Darqueze Dennard. The Saints recovered the fumble; but Cooks walked away from the pile over the ball clutching the area above his right wrist with his left hand, and he grimaced in view of a television camera.

The injury is the latest frustration of a season full of them so far. Aside from the lackluster record, there’s been numerous key injuries, such as the season-ending knee ligament tear to three-time Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd ahead of Week 5 and the right fibula fracture another safety — Rafael Bush — sustained in the loss to Cincinnati.

Still another safety — rookie Vinnie Sunseri, a mainstay on the special-teams coverage units — fractured his arm in a loss to San Francisco on Nov. 9.

Bush was hurt about 80 seconds before Cooks was in terms of elapsed game time. Both Cooks’ and Bush’s fractures occurred while the Saints were down by the final score of 27-10; and there was essentially no chance of a comeback at that late stage of the game, enhancing the general sense of frustration surrounding the injuries.

“We’re banged up,” second-year safety Kenny Vaccaro said wearily after the Bengals game.

Another key member of the Saints’ offense missed three games earlier this season with a broken thumb: running back Mark Ingram. Ingram has racked up 618 rushing yards, 138 carries and six touchdowns to head the Saints’ ground game in the seven games he has played.

Cox Sports’ Victor Howell first reported Cooks’ injury. It was then confirmed by ESPN’s Mike Triplett and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. All cited league sources.

Source: Saints safety Rafael Bush has broken fibula, not more serious fractured tibia

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ-- New Orleans Saints free safety Rafael Bush (25) is carted off the field with a leg injury in the fourth quarter in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014.

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ– New Orleans Saints free safety Rafael Bush (25) is carted off the field with a leg injury in the fourth quarter in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014.

The leg fracture Saints safety Rafael Bush suffered in Sunday’s 27-10 loss at home to Cincinnati may not be as severe as first thought.

Bush told reporters after the game that he hurt a leg making a tackle with fewer than five minutes left in the contest. He said the diagnosis after an initial examination was he had broken the primary weight-bearing bone in his right leg, or tibia, but he was expecting to be evaluated further.

On Monday, a league source said Bush learned he had actually fractured another bone: his right fibula. The fibula runs parallel to the tibia — or shinbone — and carries less weight on it. Because of that, a fractured fibula is considered less serious than a broken tibia.

Published medical literature generally estimates it can take four to six weeks for a fractured fibula to heal. After Sunday’s defeat, there are six games left in the regular season for the Saints (4-6), and their mathematical possibilities of making the playoffs are very much alive because they have the same record as the first-place team in their division, Atlanta.

Atlanta is in first place at the moment because they beat the Saints at the Georgia Dome in Week 1. The Saints and Atlanta play each other again on Dec. 21 in New Orleans.

Bush’s injury leaves the Saints with three healthy safeties for now: Kenny Vaccaro, in his second year with the team; Marcus Ball, who’s in his first NFL season after beginning his pro career in the Canadian Football League; and Jamarca Sanford, who signed with New Orleans last Wednesday.

Bush is the third Saints safety this year to suffer a major injury. Jairus Byrd suffered a season-ending knee injury in a practice prior to Week 5, and Vinnie Sunseri fractured his arm during a loss to San Francisco a week ago.

Starting ever since Byrd was lost for the season, Bush was second on the Saints with 49 combined tackles heading into Sunday (41 of them were solo). He was in a three-way tie for third in passes defensed (three).

Bush added five tackles (three solo) to his totals in Sunday’s setback to the Bengals.

“Obviously, you don’t want those things happening that late in the game,” Bush said of his injury after the game against Cincinnati (6-3-1) while he sat at his locker with crutches at his side and his right leg enveloped in ice and a bandage. “But … being (a) competitor and continuing to fight — that’s … all I was doing. It was … a freak accident. There’s nobody to blame.”

NFL clears Saints in Todd Davis drama

Despite a report from ESPN that the Saints could potentially be in trouble for how they handled a roster move earlier in the week, the NFL on Sunday said New Orleans did not run afoul of any regulations.

“The Saints have been in compliance with league rules regarding (the waiver of backup linebacker) Todd Davis,” NFL spokesman Michael Signora said in an email.

New Orleans cut Davis from its 53-man roster Wednesday and hoped to place him on the practice squad, but he was claimed off the waiver wire on Thursday by the Denver Broncos.

Before the Saints lost to Cincinnati 27-10 on Sunday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the NFL was gauging whether the team had “illegally stashed” Davis at the practice facility after waiving him.

According to Schefter, it was potentially problematic that Davis continued to attend meetings and was treated as a member of the team after being released. And since Davis was with the Saints on Thursday, the Broncos were unable to reach him after claiming him off waivers, which pushed back his arrival to town by a day.

Schefter reported the league was looking into the facts and New Orleans could’ve faced a large fine if they were found to have violated league rules.

News that the Saints were cleared in the matter circulated right as the Bengals put the finishing touches on their victory Sunday, which dropped New Orleans to 4-6.

The Saints are in second place in the NFC South after Atlanta beat Carolina on Sunday to improve to 4-6 — the Falcons own the tie-breaker over New Orleans at the moment because they triumphed in the teams’ only encounter so far this season. The Saints host Atlanta on Dec. 21.