METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - The Saints get a harsh reminder of what it's like to practice in Louisiana heat. The team was out on the practice field in Metairie on Tuesday.
Along with the heat comes the return of a player who had been limited due to injury. With that hit on Mark Ingram, the Saints welcomed back their Pro Bowl safety and prized free agent Jairus Byrd.
"Yeah, it definitely felt good to get that contact out the way and just get back in the swing of things," said Byrd. "Adjusting to this heat out here is new."
"You have one of those Pro Bowl guys who's been out for a while, everybody's been anticipating his return and we're just happy to have him back," added Junior Galette.
Byrd has been limited this offseason following a back procedure, but he's now full go and expects to play this Saturday night.
"In my mind, when he asked me 'am I expecting to play?' I am expecting to play. My mindset is I'm gonna' play. The last say-so goes through coach Payton. So I'm just preparing myself like I'm gonna' play but things can change. I don't know."
"When you take a player like Jairus, this is an important game because he hadn't been able to play in the first two," said Sean Payton. "So we'll be smart with the reps we give him and the amount we give him because I don't think he can just throw the ball out there and play. There's a little bit of football conditioning that goes into it, and I think that's important."
Keenan Lewis made his return to the Saints practice Tuesday, working on some light back pedaling and footwork off to the side. However standout rookie receiver Brandin Cooks was absent for the second straight day, nursing a fever and stomach bug.
The plays of the day came on a Ryan Griffin to Tobias Palmer deep ball.
Then, Drew Brees hit Jimmy Graham with a quick read in the redzone for a touchdown. Graham showed off a jump spike -- perhaps his new celebration move.
Brees also had a sure fire touchdown to Marques Colston, but credit rookie Stanley Jean Baptiste for knocking the ball to the ground.
It was the Saints first full pads practice outside in the Louisiana heat and humidity, and early on, the team realized it wasn't in West Virginia any more.
"It was hot," said Robert Meachem. "I felt like the sun was following me everywhere I went."
"It was pretty hot, but Sean does a good job of giving us enough water breaks to kinda' feel good to go back out there," added Junior Galette.