Brooks could be back in NFC South

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Derrick Brooks, the best player in NFC South history, might be back in the NFC South.

New Orleans coach Sean Payton confirmed after Tuesday morning's practice that Brooks will work out for the Saints on Wednesday. Payton said the Saints also will work out linebacker Derek Smith. That comes after veteran backup Mark Simoneau suffered a torn triceps.

Brooks, 36, has remained unsigned since the Bucs released him in February. How much does he have left in the tank?

"That's a good question,'' Payton said. "We're bringing him in to work him out to see. When we graded him last year prior to him getting nicked up and injured, we felt like he was still playing at a high level. He's an intelligent player; he's instinctive; he's a guy that has really been a pain for us over the years. We have a lot of respect for his ability and we'll see when he comes in."

Payton also said former Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden, who recently visited camp for a few days, gave a positive scouting report on Brooks.