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this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; OTA Notebook: Harper Running With The Ones by Dave Lawrence, NewOrleansSaints.com May 22, 2007 – 7:00 pm As the New Orleans Saints got back on the practice field Tuesday for the first of their OTA sessions, second-year safety Roman Harper ...

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Old 05-23-2007, 12:26 AM   #1
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More Saints Ota News..................

OTA Notebook: Harper Running With The Ones
by Dave Lawrence, NewOrleansSaints.com
May 22, 2007 – 7:00 pm

As the New Orleans Saints got back on the practice field Tuesday for the first of their OTA sessions, second-year safety Roman Harper was probably one of the happiest players wearing a gold helmet.

After winning a starting position in the secondary during his rookie training camp last summer, Harper saw his 2006 campaign cut short with a knee injury suffered against Tampa Bay in the fifth game of the season.

Tuesday morning's practice marked Harper's return to the field, and he stepped in where he left off - playing with the first-string defense.

"That was good," Harper replied when asked how he felt to be put back out with the starters. "It felt really good and it shows the confidence that they have in me even though I got hurt last year. I guess they believe in what I did early and I showed them that I can still play a little bit. I'm pretty confident on how I'm coming along."

The former University of Alabama defensive back said that he felt good about his performance on his first day back and felt that the hard work he and the training staff had put in over the months he missed had paid off.

"No, not from what I noticed today," Harper answered when asked if he was concerned that his knee would hold up. "Today was a good learning day and we weren't trying to do too much on it, but as we go on through the OTAs we'll see. It's all mental really, how my confidence comes to jump or plant. You've got to be mentally strong and believe that you're going to make that play when you come out of the break."

One thing that being forced to watch from the sidelines taught Harper was just how much he loves to play the game he's played all of his life.

"It made me hungry. It made me miss it so much more. I've never been hurt before and this was the longest I've ever been away from football so it seems like I've been gone for 12 years, but it's coming along and I'm happy to be back running around out there. It felt good to put on my jersey again."

New Faces In Camp: Of the 81 players that took part in the practice Tuesday, 32 of those were experiencing their first full-squad practice as Saints. Be they a 21-year-old rookie (cornerbacks David Jones and Joe Porter are two of the youngest Saints in 2007) or an 11-year veteran free agent signee like receiver David Patten, plenty of players went through their first Sean Payton practice in the OTA opener.

Rookie wideout Robert Meachem definitely was eager to pull on his #17 jersey and get on the field with his veteran teammates after a getting a taste of NFL life during a rookie minicamp a few weeks back.

"It was a big step because we were out there with the veterans," Meachem said of working with the full team. "The thing you most want to do is to get their respect. Once you get their respect, the sky is the limit for you."

Just A Few Missing: Only nine of the 90 players currently under contract to the Saints weren't in action on the practice field Tuesday morning, and only two of those due to injury. Payton was happy that so many of his players were at his disposal for the workout.

"A year ago at this time we had a number of players that weren't able to participate because of injury," said the coach. "I'm pleased where we're at from a rehab standpoint.

"After every season ends you go through a bunch of postseason procedures and our guys have done a good job with that - (head trainer) Scotty (Patton) and his crew and the doctors - of getting these guys ready."

Of the nine absentees, three are playing overseas in NFL Europa (McKinley Boykin,Willie Evans, and Chris Reis), four rookies were excused from the session due to collegiate commitments (Brett Bergstrom, Jermon Bushrod, Antonio Pittman, and Desmond Sims), and just two veterans - Alfred Fincher (thigh) Steve Gleason (knee) - were held out due to injury. Additionally, Brian Simmons was limited to individual drills as he recovers from an offseason knee surgery.

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Old 05-23-2007, 08:58 AM   #2
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Good post...I really like what Harper had to say.
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Old 05-23-2007, 09:22 AM   #3
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Good to see him coming along... Harper with Bullocks!
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Old 05-23-2007, 10:05 AM   #4
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As we shall see my friend... as we shall see.
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Old 05-23-2007, 04:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by blacksaint View Post
OTA Notebook: Harper Running With The Ones
by Dave Lawrence, NewOrleansSaints.com
May 22, 2007 – 7:00 pm


"After every season ends you go through a bunch of postseason procedures and our guys have done a good job with that - (head trainer) Scotty (Patton) and his crew and the doctors - of getting these guys ready."

Of the nine absentees, three are playing overseas in NFL Europa (McKinley Boykin,Willie Evans, and Chris Reis), four rookies were excused from the session due to collegiate commitments (Brett Bergstrom, Jermon Bushrod, Antonio Pittman, and Desmond Sims), and just two veterans - Alfred Fincher (thigh) Steve Gleason (knee) - were held out due to injury. Additionally, Brian Simmons was limited to individual drills as he recovers from an offseason knee surgery.
Is Fincher's injury from last year or is it new? I thought he showed a lot of promise early on, but I think it's time for him to join Cie Grant...
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Old 05-23-2007, 07:36 PM   #6
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I guarantee K.K. starts at one of the safety position, the guy is a ball hawking play maker, period.

Last edited by blacksaint; 05-23-2007 at 07:38 PM..
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Old 05-24-2007, 12:05 AM   #7
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Can't wait to see Harper level some poor wideout and KK intercept the tipped pass to run it back for six. No one's going to know our safeties by the time the season starts, but if they both stay healthy I guarantee everyone will by the time the playoffs roll around. That will be one fearsome combination of hard hitting and ball instincts.
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