Mon Aug 10 6:34pm ET
By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer
In this Dec. 29, 2019, file photo, New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara scores a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C. The versatile Kamara, who is entering his fourth pro season out of Tennessee, gained 1,330 yards from scrimmage last season with five touchdowns rushing and one receiving. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)
NEW ORLEANS (AP) Saints running back Alvin Kamara asserts that he is focused on his health and his team - and is trying not to think about the fact that he has one season left under contract.
''My main focus this offseason was getting back healthy. I had a rocky year last year dealing with injuries, so I've dealt with that, got back healthy and I'm here now,'' Kamara said Monday during a video conference at Saints training camp.
''I'm not concerned with contract talks at all. Me and my agent talked briefly about it and I told him, I said, 'Don't tell me anything about a contract until it's like something where it's happening or it's something that I need to know.,'' Kamara continued. ''I don't talk upstairs (to the front office) about contracts. I don't talk to coaches about contracts. I'm just here to do my job.''
The versatile Kamara, who is entering his fourth pro season out of Tennessee, gained 1,330 yards from scrimmage last season with five touchdowns rushing and one receiving. While Kamara's total offensive yards ranked 12th among NFL running backs, it fell below the standard he set when he was 2017 offensive rookie of the year (1,554 yards and 13 TDs) and in his even more productive second season (1,592 yards and 18 TDs).
But Kamara missed two games last season because of a knee injury at Jacksonville in mid-October that he said hindered him for the rest of the season. He also played through a separate ankle injury.
''Came back, tried to play as best I could. Tried to manage it throughout the week. Our training staff did the best they could,'' said Kamara, who added that he was able to rehabilitate the injury this offseason without undergoing surgery. ''I tried to put my best product out on the field. Sometimes it was enough. Sometimes it wasn't but, you know, I just didn't want to let my team down.''
Kamara said the knee injury affected his speed, lateral movement, stability and even his confidence.
''Last year was a lot of: Get what I can get and go down. Don't do too much because I could possibly hurt my knee more or it's too painful to even think about making another move,'' Kamara said.
He also recalled being so frustrated that some teammates let him know it was affecting his body language on the field - and he said he regrets that.
''At times, there were situations were, in my head, I'm like, `I shouldn't be out here,''' Kamara recounted. ''Obviously, not being able to move my leg how I want to, there was times where my body language was terrible - and I know it.''
Kamara's outward appearance of unhappiness last season - combined with the fact that Carolina do-it-all running back Christian McCaffrey received a four-year contract extension worth $64 million last April - begged the question of whether the Saints' star running back might hold out for an extension this season. After all, Saints receiver Michael Thomas did so a year ago and was rewarded with a five-year, $100 million extension.
So far, general manager Mickey Loomis has declined to discuss contract talks with Kamara or his agent, Damarius Bilbo.
But Kamara doesn't sound inclined to hold out. He could regret that if he struggles with injuries again this season. But if he has another strong campaign, it might drive up his value.
''I bet on myself every year,'' Kamara said, adding that his contract situation is ''just not something that's on the forefront of my day. It's not something I wake up thinking about.
''With team success comes individual success, so that's been what I'm focused on.''
Kamara said that in addition to an offseason training regimen meant to enhance his lower body strength and stability, he has adopted more of a vegetarian diet while also cutting back on sugar and sodium.
''I feel good,'' Kamara said. ''I'm excited about getting back to playing how I know I can play.''
Sunday Morning Update: Week 3
Indianapolis Colts LB Darius Leonard posted a total of 11 stops with a tackle for loss and a pass defensed in Week 3 against the New York Jets.
Indianapolis Colts CB T.J. Carrie finished with four tackles, a pass defensed and a 47-yard interception return for touchdown in Week 3 against the New York Jets.
Indianapolis Colts CB Xavier Rhodes finished with a solo tackle, two passes defensed and a 44-yard interception return for touchdown in Week 3 against the New York Jets.
Indianapolis Colts DE Justin Houston finished with a solo tackle, a sack, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit and a safety in Week 3 against the New York Jets.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (hamstring) caught five of his six targets for 64 yards and a touchdown before exiting with a hamstring injury in a 28-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: A week after being sidelined with a concussion, Godwin now has another injury to deal with. If he misses more time going forward, Scott Miller could vault into flex territory.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans caught a pair of one-yard touchdowns in a 28-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: It has been a strange season for Evans, who has sandwiched a pair of two-yard performances between a 100-yard game. He has scored in all three games, but Evans will need to see an increase in volume if he is going to finish as a WR1.
New York Jets WR Braxton Berrios registered four receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown on his six targets in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts.
Fantasy Spin: Berrios helped pick up some of the slack with Jamison Crowder inactive due to an injury. That's two games and two scores for Berrios, who is likely to be a hot add off the waiver wire this season. He is worth grabbing as a WR5 in fantasy leagues of 12 or more teams.
New York Jets TE Chris Herndon posted three catches for 21 yards on five targets in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts.
Fantasy Spin: Herndon opened with six grabs in Week 1, but he has managed just four catches for 26 yards on nine targets in his past two outings. That type of production isn't good for anyone in fantasy.
New York Jets S Bradley McDougald registered 10 total stops with five solo tackles in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts.
New York Jets QB Sam Darnold completed 17-of-29 passes for 168 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts. He also ran five times for 20 yards.
Fantasy Spin: Darnold was without Jamison Crowder, and he was also without Le'Veon Bell for the second straight game. It didn't help not having two of his best offensive weapons, but he simply made too many mistakes. The Jets have a quick turnaround, facing the Denver Broncos on Thursday in Week 4. Darnold cannot be trusted for fantasy purposes.
New York Jets RB Frank Gore ran 15 times for 57 yards in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts and he added one reception for five yards on his only target.
Fantasy Spin: Gore has been picking up the slack with Le'Veon Bell inactive for a second straight game due to a hamstring injury. While Gore is getting a majority of the backfield touches ahead of La'Mical Perine and Kalen Ballage, it might only be a matter of time before Adam Gase elects to try the younger players. Fantasy buyer beware.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones rushed 13 times for 53 yards and caught two of his four targets for 20 yards in a 28-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: While it wasn't an overwhelming stat line, but after Leonard Fournette had a big Week 2, Jones resumed the lead role, leading all backs in carries and touches. The chances of Jones breaking into the RB2 ranks this year seem slim, but he should have value as a flex option.
Updating a previous report, Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert (ankle) is expected to miss some time after leaving the Week 3 game against the Cincinnati Bengals due to an ankle injury. He will have an MRI Monday, Sept. 28.
Fantasy Spin: With Goedert likely to miss time, Zach Ertz will once again suck up all of the tight end targets, and might re-emerge as a bona fide TE1 in fantasy after having to share the wealth in the first three games this season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady completed 25 of his 38 passes for 297 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: Brady had his best performance as a Buccaneer, but until he strings together a few strong outings, the veteran should still be treated as a matchup-based streaming option.
Los Angeles Chargers WR Mike Williams (hamstring) suffered a hamstring injury in Week 3 against the Carolina Panthers and he was unable to return.
Fantasy Spin: That explains his lack of usage in the home loss to the Panthers. He managed just one catch for 17 yards on one target We'll know more about his status for Week 4 once practice resumes on Wednesday.
Carolina Panthers CB Donte Jackson (toe) left the Week 3 game against the Los Angeles Chargers due to a toe injury.
New Orleans Saints TE Jared Cook (ankle) left the Week 3 game against the Green Bay Packers. He headed for the medical tent initially, then was taken to the locker room.
Fantasy Spin: If Cook is unable to return, it will be Josh Hill likely handling Cook's workload. We'll update his injury status as soon as possible.
The Carolina Panthers Defense capitalized in Week 3 against a team starting a rookie quarterback on the Chargers. Carolina notched two sacks, eight quarterback hits, one pick, and three fumble recoveries. While this was an encouraging performance for a team that gave up over 30 points in the first two games, this type of performance should not be expected each week. The Panthers' defense is still a very young and inexperienced unit, and they face a tough test in a rising Cardinals team next week.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen caught three of his five targets for 29 yards and a touchdown in a 31-30 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: The touchdown salvaged an otherwise quiet afternoon, and since a monster performance in Week 1, Thielen has just six catches for 60 yards in the last two games. He still has WR2 upside, but with Kirk Cousins struggling, boom-or-bust production could become the norm.
Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph caught two of his three targets for 11 yards and a touchdown in a 31-30 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: It has been a quiet season for Rudolph, and he is sitting on four catches for 39 yards and a score after three games. He is a touchdown-dependent TE2.