The New Orleans Saints designated fullback Adam Prentice to return from injured reserve this week, leaving them with six more slots to do so. NFL teams are allowed to bring back up to eight players from injured reserve each season, so Prentice is the second to do so after running back Jamaal Williams was sidelined earlier this year.
Prentice went down with a knee injury after a rough start to his season, dropping a critical pass and fumbling deep inside New Orleans’ territory during Week 4’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Still, it’s a positive that he’s able to return from injury and try to turn things around. He’ll have three weeks to practice and prove he’s healthy and able to play on Sundays.
With that said, it’s worth asking if it’s worth spending one of those few return slots on him. The Saints could have flown in some free agent fullbacks for tryouts after Prentice’s season started so poorly and waived him with an injury settlement, as they did with Tre’Quan Smith. Nose tackle Khalen Saunders has emerged as a legitimate asset in short-yardage situations in Prentice’s old role, too, paving the way as a blocker and commanding attention as a receiving threat. But Prentice won the job in training camp and they’re determined to ride with him further.
On the other hand, the Saints aren’t hurting for return slots as it is. Just one other player is on injured reserve right now with the possibility of returning later this year: defensive end Payton Turner, who is still a ways off from activation after early-season foot surgery. With half the regular season already behind them and so few players on injured reserve (an objectively good thing!), the Saints can afford a small luxury like bringing back Prentice. Let’s hope he justifies that decision with a positive impact down the stretch.