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Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Barring an unlikely run to the playoffs, Deuce McAllister's season is over. But his four-game suspension for using a banned substance brings to light a bigger question.
|AP Photo/Alex Brandon|
|Judging by his reduced role this season, Deuce McAllister may have played his last game for the Saints.|
Is McAllister's time with the New Orleans Saints over?
It sure looks like that's the leading scenario and that may make for a sad ending for a guy who arguably has been the best and most popular player in franchise history. But it's hard to see this playing out any other way.
Let's face the facts, long before the possibility of the suspension came on the horizon, McAllister already was facing a reduced role. He barely was used at the start of the season.
The man who used to be the heart and soul of New Orleans' running game saw his carries get taken away by Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas and even Aaron Stecker, before he got hurt. McAllister has played only a minimal role all season and it's hard to imagine him being in the Saints' plans for the future.
McAllister is going to turn 30 in a few weeks and he's had two major knee injuries. Sure, the Saints need someone who can run between the tackles, but they would have used McAllister more if they thought he still could do that. The Saints are going to have to go out and look for that type of runner -- to complement Bush -- in the offseason.
At the same time, McAllister and the Saints probably will part ways. Maybe McAllister will retire or maybe he'll be released and try to catch on with another team. Either way, this isn't the ideal way for a figure like McAllister to leave a franchise he's been the symbol of for so long.