Saints DT Rankins (Achilles) returns to practice


METAIRIE, La. – The New Orleans Saints received a boost on Monday as defensive forward Sheldon Rankins resumed training for the first time since the tearing of his Achilles in January.

Rankins and coach Sean Payton refused to set a schedule for his participation in a match. But they expect him to miss less than the six weeks that would have been necessary had he stayed on the list of people physically unable to play to start the regular season.

"There was nothing left to do from a training point of view, and now there is only to limit it and put it into practice," said Payton. "It's going to take a bit, he still has work to do."

Rankins stated that he had not discovered until Monday that he would be activated from the PUP's list and that he would return to practice.

"Dude, it's surreal, I will not even lie," said Rankins, who did limited work on Monday. "It's very surreal to put on crampon shoes to come here, to go through warm-up lines, step-by-step procedures and things like that, to see his teammates kiss you.

Several teammates imitated the celebration of the "shimmy" bag, a signature of Rankins, although he joked that he had to correct them with the proper technique.

Rankins, who was the 12th overall pick in the 2016 draft, had a stellar season in 2018, with eight sacks, 15 quarter shifts, 12 defeat tackles and a forced fumble while he was primarily playing the role of three techniques. The 6-foot-2 in 305 pound was an underrated reason that the Saints finished second in the NFL race defense and tied for fifth place in the sacks while getting NFC's No. 1 seed with a record from 13-3.

The Rankins season ended early, however, when he tore the left Achilles tendon during the New Orleans victory in the playoffs against the Eagles. Philadelphia.

"You never want to leave a playoff game, period – but for me to go out like I did last year with the season I was preparing, that definitely did not end up like I wanted it, "Rankins said. "I think I kept this in mind throughout this recovery process.

"Being able to attack every day, put me in a position to be back during the last week of the training camp with my guys, to be able to do some quality work before the start of the season, that's right. "It's a beautiful thing." I'm proud of myself, but I still have a long way to go. "

Rankins said he relied on several other victims of the same injury, including former teammates Saints Alex Okafor and Benjamin Watson. Okafor has returned from an injury to Achilles in 2017 to play every game of last season and Rankins said that Okafor had given him his best advice.

He said: "When you're ready, cut yourself up," Rankins remembered. "Do not think, do not hesitate, do not do it.When you have that thought in your head," Yeah, I can do it, just cut it and go play, and the rest will take care of itself "

The Saints may still be too thin at the location of the three techniques of the first week, when they welcome the Houston Texans on Monday night football. The best backup of Rankins, David Onyemata, will serve a suspension of a match. The next player on the depth chart, newly recruited veteran Mario Edwards Jr., has been absent since the second pre-season game with an unspecified injury.

New Orleans placed third-year defenseman Garrett Griffin on the injured list on Monday after being transported to the locker room during Saturday's preliminary game against an unspecified injury. Griffin was struggling to maintain the lineup he deserved at the end of last season when he clinched his first career touchdown in the NFC championship game.

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