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X-Files context: Will Sharper even play?

6/3/2010

It's probably not time for a postscript to the X-Files exchange between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper. So consider this post a "midscript" to provide some interesting context for NFC North blog readers who might not follow the daily trends in New Orleans. (Including me.)

Sharper

SharperNamely, there is a genuine chance that Sharper won't be much of a factor for the Sept. 9 season opener that has provided the backdrop for this Twitter-trash. Let me pull a few paragraphs of a recent post from NFC South colleague Pat Yasinskas:

The start of the season is a long way off. Besides, I'm thinking there's a very good chance Sharper won't even be in the starting lineup for that game. Malcolm Jenkins was getting the first-team work at free safety [last week].

I know this might not sit well with Sharper's fan club in New Orleans, and that's understandable because the guy was a huge contributor as the Saints won the Super Bowl. But he also is 34. Jenkins was a first-round draft pick last year and the Saints want to get him on the field.

Indeed, the Saints re-signed Sharper to a one-year contract this spring. Later, it was revealed Sharper had microfracture surgery on his knee, a serious procedure that has varying timetables for recovery. Then the Saints used their first-round draft pick to select cornerback Patrick Robinson and moved Jenkins to free safety. The team is clearly planning for a Sharper-less future, whether it's immediate or just soon.

Yasinskas, among others, has referred to Sharper as "insurance" to the Robinson-Jenkins plan. If either isn't ready to start, then Sharper would ostensibly be available to fill the gap. But if they're ready? Who knows? Even if the Saints keep Sharper on their roster, would a 34-year-old backup safety be part of the 45-man game-day roster Sept. 9?

Just something for you to consider as you imagine Sharper busting Visanthe Shiancoe under his chinstrap.