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Saints re-sign Shayne Graham

METAIRIE, La. - The New Orleans Saints stuck with veteran kicker Shayne Graham, after all.

The Saints re-signed Graham on Tuesday after releasing him three days earlier. To make room, they waived second-year quarterback Ryan Griffin.

It's unclear if that was a planned procedural move all along, but it would make sense if the Saints wanted to avoid having the promising young Griffin get snatched away by another quarterback-needy team.

Graham, 36, ultimately beat out younger challenger Derek Dimke for the Saints' kicking job this summer. Although both of them showed some inconsistency throughout training camp, coach Sean Payton continued to express faith in both candidates. Graham made all four of his field-goal attempts in the preseason but missed one of the experimental 33-yard extra-point attempts in Week 1.

Graham's brief tenure with the Saints has been a microcosm of his 13-year career, spent with 10 different teams.

He joined the Saints last December when they decided to release longtime kicker Garrett Hartley. And he started strong, including a clutch performance in New Orleans' 26-24 wild-card playoff victory at Philadelphia. Graham made all four of his field goal attempts in that game, including a 32-yard game winner as time expired. A week later, however, Graham missed two long field goals in tough weather conditions in a divisional-round playoff loss at Seattle.

Ultimately, though, all of those experiences probably helped Graham earn the Saints' trust over a more unknown commodity. Graham said last week that he considers his ability to deal with the highs and lows as an asset. And the Saints apparently agreed.

"There are definitely times in my career where I've been on top of the world and times where I feel like the world was falling down around me. But you've still gotta be ready for that next opportunity, because it's the most important one," said Graham, who has made 85.5 percent of his field goals throughout his career.

As for Griffin, the Saints' decision to release him Tuesday was a double whammy since many teams have made other arrangements with their backup quarterback spots. Of course, that may have been by design, since the Saints are still high on Griffin's long-term future even though he wasn't able to beat out veteran Luke McCown for the backup job in New Orleans.

Last year, for example, the Saints signed Griffin from their practice squad to their active roster only after the St. Louis Rams had offered Griffin an opportunity to sign with them instead.

Griffin will now be available to all 31 teams through waivers before he is eligible to be signed to New Orleans' practice squad.