Saints’ Jameis Winston ‘blessed and grateful’ to be back on the field

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New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston is back on the field after missing the final 10 games of the 2021 NFL season with a torn ACL. 

The Saints held their first practice of training camp on Wednesday and the seven-year pro was simply happy to be back on the field. 

New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston talks with reporters during training camp at their NFL football training facility in Metairie, La., Wednesday, July 27, 2022. 

New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston talks with reporters during training camp at their NFL football training facility in Metairie, La., Wednesday, July 27, 2022.  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

“Blessed and grateful,” Winston said, according to the Saints website. “Grateful to be back out here with this team, grateful for another opportunity to come out here and play some football.

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“It’s still going to be a progression, but I worked my tail off and I’m going to continue to do that.”

New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston, #2, drops back to pass during the NFL football team's training camp in Metairie, La., Wednesday, July 27, 2022. 

New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston, #2, drops back to pass during the NFL football team’s training camp in Metairie, La., Wednesday, July 27, 2022.  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

In his first year as the starter for New Orleans, Winston got off to a great start, throwing for 14 touchdowns and just three interceptions in the first seven games of the year. However, a devastating knee injury during the Saints’ Week 8 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended his season.

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“Jameis, he’s a competitor,” wide receiver Michael Thomas said. “He’s the ultimate competitor. He always shows up ready to work. It’s like, you’re not gonna outwork him. You’re not going to deny him. He brings that energy and passion and you just feed off that. I’m excited to play with him and I’m excited to help him move the chains.”

New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston, #2, pauses between drills during the NFL football team's training camp in Metairie, La., Wednesday, July 27, 2022. 

New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston, #2, pauses between drills during the NFL football team’s training camp in Metairie, La., Wednesday, July 27, 2022.  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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First-year head coach Dennis Allen was pleased with how Winston looked on Wednesday, and the former first-overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft told reporters that he felt stronger than he did during the Saints’ minicamp. 

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“I would say I got more explosive (since minicamp),” Winston said, according to the Saints website. “I was good, I was ready to go right then. But it’s a progression. The healing process really never stops. I feel stronger right now, but with practice increasing, I know I’ve got to harp on a couple of things and continue to build.”

New Orleans went 9-8 in 2021, missing out on the playoffs for the first time since 2016. 

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