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News » Greer, Evans come in to N.O. for visits

Greer, Evans come in to N.O. for visits

Greer, Evans come in to N.O. for visits
The Saints added cornerback Jabari Greer and fullback Heath Evans to their list of visiting free agents Tuesday, according to league sources.

The secondary continues to be the Saints' main area of emphasis in Free Agency. They lined up a visit with Greer, who was visiting the Browns on Tuesday. They also remained in contact with safety Darren Sharper and safety Gerald Sensabaugh, both of whom visited earlier in the week.

Sharper returned home Tuesday after a recruiting trip that included a personal sales pitch from Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, and he reportedly plans to visit Chicago next. But a source indicated that the visit in New Orleans went well, and both sides remain very interested in a possible union.

The fullback position also seems to be high on the Saints' wish list. In addition to Evans, who arrived Tuesday night, the Saints also have made inquiries about free-agent fullback Leonard Weaver, according to a league source.

That could indicate that the Saints are looking to replace incumbent fullback Mike Karney, who is more of a traditional power-blocking back. Evans, 30, and Weaver, 26, are more versatile fullbacks who also can run and catch the ball out of the backfield.

It's also possible that the Saints are looking for someone who could complement Karney, while also filling the power-rushing void that was created when they released tailback Deuce McAllister last month. But with limited salary-cap space, that possibility seems less likely.

Karney, who has two years remaining on his contract at just over $1 million per year, said he has received no indication from the Saints that they're looking to make a switch. But he can read the tea leaves just like anyone else.

"In the NFL, the day you come in is the day they start looking to replace you," said Karney, 27. "And when you go 7-9 and 8-8 after a 10-6 season, everyone gets put under the microscope. That may be the case with me. I guess we'll see what happens."

Evans, in particular, is a jack-of-all-trades who has served as a backup tailback, backup tight end and special teams specialist in his eight-year career with New England, Miami and Seattle.

During a stretch as a replacement tailback in 2005, Evans, 6 feet, 250 pounds, ran for 74 yards on 16 carries against the Saints and caught two passes for 21 yards in New England's 24-17 victory.

He also has remained durable, appearing in every game with the Patriots over the past three seasons.

Greer, 27, is in the same mold as the first cornerback the Saints courted in Free Agency -- Ron Bartell, who elected to re-sign with the Rams on Sunday.

Greer, 5-11, 180, began his career as an undrafted free agent with Buffalo, but he earned a starting role in 2007 and has started 23 games over the past two years. He missed the final six games of last season with a knee injury.

He has four career interceptions, including two last season, and he returned both for touchdowns. That included a 33-yarder at St. Louis and a 42-yarder against the Jets.

It's unclear if the Saints have plans to visit with veteran free-agent cornerback Shawn Springs, as was reported by the National Football Post on Monday. Springs arrived in Philadelphia on Tuesday, and no visit with New Orleans has been confirmed.

Either way, the Saints are looking to add some fresh blood to the mix at cornerback, which could also affect some veterans currently on the roster.

Mike McKenzie and Jason David would seem to be in the most jeopardy, based on their salaries. McKenzie, who fractured his kneecap in November, declined to comment Tuesday on any talks he has had with the Saints about his projected role this year or any possible contract restructures.

He did say that his health is "great," he's working out and running, and he plans to be full speed when the team begins its offseason conditioning program at the end of the month.

"This doesn't compare at all to an ACL," said McKenzie, 32, who spent last offseason rehabbing from a more serious ACL tear. "As always, health is the key. I just want to keep getting stronger and be ready to roll."

The Saints were expected to try to alter McKenzie's deal, which has one year and $4.575 million remaining in salary and bonuses, to create some cap space. Heading into Free Agency, though, the plan was to figure out a way to keep him through the summer and get a feel for how well he's recovered from the knee injuries.

. . . . . . .

Mike Triplett can be reached at mtriplett@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3405.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 4, 2009

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