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Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Here's an update to our earlier report about the Saints releasing fullback Mike Karney. The Saints have just sent out a press release confirming Karney's release and the signing of Heath Evans as his replacement.
Evans, who previously played for New England, signed a two-year contract. Evans, who has been in the NFL for eight seasons, is viewed as more versatile than Karney. While Karney was known almost exclusively as a blocker, Evans has some rushing and receiving skills.
Evans has 157 career carries and has averaged 3.6 yards a carry. He also has 40 career receptions for 328 yards. With Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush as the main running backs, the Saints were lacking a short-yardage runner. Evans could help fill that void, although the Saints still could be on the market for a bigger tailback.
"Heath is a versatile and fundamentally sound fullback who can help our offense in a variety of roles, whether it be as a lead blocker, as a runner or receiving option out of the backfield as well as on special teams,” Saints executive vice president/general manager Mickey Loomis said. "He has played in a few different offensive systems and has adapted quickly and been a contributor to all of them.”
Before joining the Patriots, Evans was the lead blocker for Seattle's Shaun Alexander for four straight 1,000 yard seasons.
"Heath is a tireless worker and someone we were very impressed with after spending time with him,” coach Sean Payton said, "He's very excited about the various things we do from an offensive perspective and is a well-rounded and versatile player. In addition, he has played quite a bit on various special-teams units throughout his career and been a reliable and dependable player in many different situations.”