NFC South: timothy flanders

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Drew Brees took one small step closer to getting back to work on Tuesday when he dressed in full pads for the New Orleans Saints' practice.

Brees didn’t participate in any drills, though, as he continued to throw and exercise off to the side with the training staff as he recovers from a strained oblique.

Once again, it appears extremely unlikely that Brees will play in Friday’s preseason game against the Tennessee Titans. But he still appears on schedule to be back in plenty of time for the regular season.

“He's progressing well,” Saints coach Sean Payton said after practice. “So all those things are good signs. Each day he does a little bit more with the training room and then out here. And we just keep working on the rehab and making sure, functionally, that we're not stressing it where it sets him back."

When asked if it’s difficult to keep Brees patient, Payton said: “Well, he has that nature in him. But I also think he’s smart and he understands that the type of strain he has is something that can reoccur if you’re not careful and you don’t let it heal properly.”

The Saints had a number of positive developments Tuesday with their injury list.

Cornerback Champ Bailey returned to the practice field for the first time in nearly two weeks after suffering an undisclosed injury -- though he was limited to walk-through and individual work.

“He’s progressing well, feeling better, and it’s encouraging,” Payton said.

And guard Jahri Evans was spotted on the sideline for the first time in a week, although he wasn’t dressed in pads and only did some light exercises with the trainers off to the side as he recovers from an undisclosed injury.

Other injury updates:
Rutgers receiver Brandon Coleman and former Notre Dame offensive lineman Mike Golic Jr. were among the New Orleans Saints' most noteworthy additions following the draft Saturday night.

The Saints have not yet officially announced their list of undrafted free agents -- a group that could grow to more than 20 players this year. But many of the signings have filtered out through tweets from players, schools, agents or reports.

Rutgers confirmed that Coleman agreed to join the Saints. The massive 6-foot-6, 225-pound target, was considered by many as a top-100 prospect in this year's draft class (ESPN/Scouts Inc. had him ranked 89th overall and 15th among receivers). Instead, he went undrafted -- ranking him among the two or three biggest surprises in that group.

It's unclear why. Coleman's production dipped as a junior last year after he tore the meniscus in his knee last spring. He went from 43 catches, 718 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2012 to 34-538-4 last year. But he seemingly answered any questions about his health with an impressive performance at the NFL scouting combine (4.56 seconds in the 40-yard dash).

Golic (6-4, 300) spent last summer with the Pittsburgh Steelers after going undrafted a year ago. But he was cut following the preseason. The son of longtime NFL standout and current ESPN radio host Mike Golic, he could potentially play all over the line. The Steelers used him at guard and tackle, and he also spent time at center in college. ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported he agreed to a two-year deal, and Golic confirmed the agreement on Twitter.

Two other intriguing players who have reportedly joined the Saints are Grand Valley State center Matt Armstrong and West Texas A&M kicker Sergio Castillo -- for a couple of reasons.

For one thing, those are two positions of interest. For another, those are the same two schools where the Saints unearthed two of last year's undrafted gems, lineman Tim Lelito and running back Khiry Robinson, respectively.

Now Armstrong (ranked 15th among centers by ESPN/Scouts Inc.) will come in and compete with his former teammate at the center and backup swingman spots. Veteran Jonathan Goodwin also remains a possibility for that starting vacancy.

I consider Castillo a long shot to beat out veteran Shayne Graham. I'm not sure if the Saints also plan to keep young backup Derek Dimke, whom they signed earlier this offseason.

The Saints also added a quarterback -- Middle Tennessee's Logan Kilgore (according to Kilgore on Twitter). The 6-2, 213-pounder will have a hard time beating out last year's undrafted rookie, Ryan Griffin, for a roster spot.

And they added at least one running back -- Sam Houston State's Timothy Flanders (5-9, 207) -- the position where they've had an uncanny knack for finding great undrafted players. Flanders, who announced the deal via Twitter, ranks in the top six in FCS history with 5,664 career rushing yards and 66 rushing touchdowns.

Also on the list of reported agreements Saturday night, along with who confirmed:

SPONSORED HEADLINES

NFC SOUTH SCOREBOARD