The New Orleans Saints will head into the 2022 NFL season vying to contend for a playoff spot, but the team will have to overcome a lengthy suspension for running back Alvin Kamara.
New Orleans already faced legitimate concerns before the upcoming season. Pro Bowl left tackle Terron Armstead bolted in free agency, making the left side of the offensive line an Achilles’ heel for the team. On top of that, quarterback Jameis Winston is still dealing with some issues during his recovery from a torn ACL suffered in the middle of the 2021 season.
It’s putting a lot of pressure on new coach Dennis Allen and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. to make things work in the first year without Sean Payton. If all of that wasn’t bad enough, the Saints have to prepare for the NFL to hand down a massive suspension to Kamara.
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According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Kamara is bracing for a six-game suspension for the upcoming season after violating the league’s personal conduct policy. There is also a realistic chance additional games could be tacked on.
- Alvin Kamara stats (2021): 898 rushing yards, 439 receiving yards, nine total touchdowns
As of now, the Saints still don’t know when the NFL will announce its decision. Typically, the league makes its announcements before training camp in order to provide clarity for the team and player. However, the circumstances involved with Kamara’s case could push him into paid leave before a ruling comes.
Why is Alvin Kamara being suspended?
Alvin Kamara went to Las Vegas for the 2022 Pro Bowl, playing in the exhibition game in front of millions of fans. A few hours after the final whistle blew, Kamnra was arrested by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
The 26-year-old admitted to law enforcement that he struck Darnell Greene multiple times right by an elevator at the Cromwell Casino in Las Vegas. Video surveillance showed Greene laying on the floor when Kamara and several people with him repeatedly kicked and punched the man,
Greene suffered an orbital fracture on his right eye and suffered significant swelling, requiring hospitalization. Police charged Kamara and several others with felony battery and he is scheduled for a hearing in August.
Under the NFL’s personal conduct policy, any player charged with felony battery can receive a six-game suspension as the baseline. League rules also allow for additional factors, such as repeatedly striking the person, to add more games to the suspension.
While the new NFL CBA allows for Kamara to contest the suspension in front of an independent judge, video surveillance and witness testimony will be used against him. Realistically, the All-Pro running back should safely be ruled out for at least six games this year and there is a real possibility he could miss additional time.
The Saints intended to sign running back David Johnson as insurance at the position, but talks fell through. For as long as Kamara is sidelined, expect Mark Ingram, Abram Smith and Tony Jones Jr. to share touches in the backfield.