Veteran linebacker Ryan Connelly was one of the stars of the New Orleans Saints preseason, but an injury scare threatened his season. He hurt his knee in the team’s second preseason game, which Saints head coach Dennis Allen described as a significant issue.
But he recovered sooner than expected and is back on the practice squad. Connelly worked out with his teammates at the Saints’ Wednesday practice session. Allen acknowledged Connelly’s swift return in his post-practice press conference with local media.
Allen said: “That’s part of the issue, is you start talking about injuries and there’s still a lot of evaluations and things of that nature that have to go through. It was obviously a lot better than we thought. He’s healthy, he was back out there practicing today.”
Connelly could be an important player for the team. He logged a ton of snaps in the kicking game and led the squad in tackles in their first preseason game, having taken most of the reps in Demario Davis’s spot at middle linebacker. He’s one of four linebackers on the practice squad right now, joining Jaylon Smith, Ty Summers, and undrafted rookie Anfernee Orji, but he could be a game-day elevation to reinforce the depth chart.
He first arrived in New Orleans on a reserve/future deal back in January, having spent the 2022 season on the Minnesota Vikings practice squad. The New York Giants drafted Connelly back in 2019 (in the fifth round) out of Wisconsin, where he was college teammates with linebacker Zack Baun and right tackle Ryan Ramczyk.