by Clay A. Smith
There was a familiar face at Saints training camp today. Twenty-one year veteran and former Saint, John Carney dusted off his forty-five year-old foot to return to the team that gave him the boot three seasons ago.
Carney to the rescue?! Maybe. Carneys return comes on the heels of a potential four game suspension for last years standout Garrett Hartley. The league suspended Hartley for violating its banned substance policy, testing positive for the stimulant Adderall.
In 08 Hartley was a perfect 13-of-13 , shoring-up the Saints inconsistent kicking game. The incumbent, Hartley appeared to be a shoe in as the teams place kicker. However Hartley has already missed a chip shot from twenty yards out in the preseason opener against Cincinnati and his pending suspension has left the door wide open for a kicking controversy. Hartley will likely miss the Saints first four games against the Lions, Eagles, Bills, and Jets.
Insert Carney, who has only kicked for over two decades, made four hundred and sixty field goals in nearly three-hundred games, with a career 82.6 conversion rate. Last year Carney filled in for another kicker- injured New York Giant Lawrence Tynes.
While in New York, Carney only missed once in fifteen tries. His near perfect performance earned him a spot in the Pro-Bowl and got the attention of his former coach.
John was the guy that we felt comfortable with, said head coach Sean Payton. He was the guy last year, to be honest with you, when he was with New York and we were going through the different options at kicker, we were hoping that he wouldve come off their roster but he never did.
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