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Sean Payton: ‘Absolutely’ Mark Ingram could play Sunday

New Orleans coach Sean Payton said Thursday there’s a “high chance” that newly acquired running back Mark Ingram could suit up for the Saints on Sunday against Tampa Bay.

The Saints expect Ingram to practice Friday. Reports that the Saints acquired Ingram from Houston came Thursday, though terms still have not been revealed.

Payton said he and general manager Mickey Loomis discussed trading for Ingram on Monday in Seattle, where the Saints defeated the Seahawks on Monday night.

“With a player like him, it’s hard to gauge if a team has any interest,” Payton said Thursday. “We felt like it was worth calling, just kind of poking around. Once that momentum began, I was still somewhat skeptical, just relative to the role he was playing for them.”

He added that Ingram’s “little partner in crime,” Alvin Kamara, also pitched trading for Ingram after it was already in the works.

Asked if Ingram could play Sunday, Payton said “absolutely.”

“That’s a good chance. Absolutely. That’s a high chance,” Payton said.

Ingram, 31, is back with the team that drafted him No. 28 overall in 2011. Ingram is 90 rushing yards away from passing Deuce McAllister (6,096) as the Saints’ all-time leading rusher.

Ingram racked up 7,605 yards from scrimmage and made two Pro Bowls in eight seasons with the Saints before leaving for the Baltimore Ravens in free agency in 2019.

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He started all seven games for the Texans this season after signing a one-year contract with the team last offseason. He rushed for 294 yards with a touchdown for the Texans while rarely being utilized out of the backfield in the passing game.

Ingram made the Pro Bowl with the Ravens in his first season, recording 1,265 total yards and 15 touchdowns in 2019. The Ravens released him in January.

For his career, Ingram has rushed for 7,618 yards and caught 267 passes for 1,919 yards. He has 73 career touchdowns for the Saints (2011-18), Ravens (2019-20) and Texans.

–Field Level Media