Mark Ingram just had a career year as a member of the New Orleans Saints, who used a first-round pick in 2011 to acquire the Heisman Trophy winner out of Alabama. Rushing for 1,043 yards, averaging 5.1 yards per carry, adding another 319 yards on 46 receptions and scoring a total of 10 touchdowns, he did a heck of a lot right last season.
Suddenly, Ingram is competing with Adrian Peterson, who is one of the top backs of this current generation and is almost surely a Hall of Famer. Rather than feel bitter about being faced with competition like this, Ingram is eager to work hard and continue proving his worth.
“It is what it is,” Ingram said, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “… I don’t really feel one way or another about it. I just play the hand that’s dealt to me. I just work my butt off and that’s about it.”
Ingram revealed Peterson has been a guy he’s admired from afar for well over a decade. Now he’s working directly with Peterson in the film room and competing directly against him during practice.
“This guy is one of the best backs that has ever walked on this planet, especially in this generation,” Ingram said. “I’ve admired him ever since he was a freshman at Oklahoma. We’re in the same backfield now and we’re competing, we’re making each other better. And that’s just what it is.”
Not only did the Saints bring in Peterson, but they also brought in rookie Alvin Kamara from Tennessee. It’s a very talented bunch for Sean Payton, who will no doubt have specific roles planned out for all three players.
Whether that means Ingram ends up taking a back seat to Peterson remains to be seen. Reportedly, the Saints signed Peterson to be Ingram’s backup, but we’re not sure we buy that. It’s a storyline we’ll be watching throughout training camp and preseason games.