- Mike Triplett, ESPN Staff Writer
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AVONDALE, La. -- It's unlikely that the New Orleans Saints will exercise the fifth-year option on running back Mark Ingram's contract before the May 3 deadline. The Saints would have to pay him a salary of $5.2 million in 2015 to extend his deal for another year, which is more than the going rate for free-agent running backs these days.
But Ingram insisted that he's not overly concerned about the Saints' pending decision.
"I'm not too sure if they'll pick up the fifth-year option," Ingram said Tuesday. "But I'm just working one day at a time. I'm just glad to be on a team that's a championship contender."
Ingram, who spoke to the media before participating in a celebrity golf shootout at the Zurich Classic PGA tournament, is understandably excited about the upcoming season.
Ingram, 24, started to play some of his best football down the stretch last season after an up-and-down start to his three-year NFL career. And his role could potentially increase in 2014 after the Saints decided to trade fellow running back Darren Sproles to the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I really haven't had any direction conversation with (the Saints about) that," Ingram said of a potentially-increased role. "But I guess that's an assumption that everybody else makes."
Ingram will still have to split touches with fellow running backs Pierre Thomas, Khiry Robinson and Travaris Cadet in a crowded backfield. But Ingram's arrow is clearly pointing up. And as an added bonus, he's fully healthy after battling a variety of nagging injuries throughout his pro career.
"I'm very excited," said Ingram, who joined his teammates for the start of the offseason conditioning program this week. "Excited to be back with the team, getting ready going for a championship."