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'Shortstop' Brees comfortable with Lelito

9/22/2014

NEW ORLEANS -- Tim Lelito’s first NFL snap as a center was one he’d like to forget.

The New Orleans Saints’ second-year backup came in to replace injured starter Jonathan Goodwin during the third quarter of Sunday’s 20-9 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. And on his first play, a third-and-9, Lelito misfired a shotgun snap that went past quarterback Drew Brees and turned into an 18-yard loss.

Lelito settled in after that, though. And Brees insisted later that he trusts the second-year pro, who spent most of the offseason working as New Orleans’ first-string center before Goodwin ultimately beat him out for the job.

It’s unclear how long Goodwin will be sidelined. Goodwin was in a walking boot and was walking with crutches after the game following an injury to his left leg/foot area. He declined to offer specifics but said he was optimistic that the injury wasn’t as bad as he first thought on the field.

“First snap of the game, they looked like they were bringing the house and I just got a little nervous," Lelito said after the game, according to The Advocate. "We had to punt, so that made it a long walk back to the sideline, which wasn’t fun."

Lelito said Brees encouraged him afterward, though.

“He said, ‘You know what? That’s on me, too.’” Lelito said. “After that, I thought I settled down pretty well.”

Brees echoed that sentiment in his postgame news conference.

“Listen, I’m looking at myself,” Brees said. “Last week had that bobbled snap [at Cleveland], this week had the one get by me. Listen, I gotta play shortstop. I can’t let those balls get by me. I don’t care if they’re low, high, coming in hot, whatever. That’s my job. So I’m as mad at myself as anybody.

“And I took snaps from Lelito all offseason, all OTAs, training camp. There’s a big comfort level there. We just happened to have a bad one to start the day.”