Alabama in the Pros

Mark Ingram to face free agency, but wants to remain with Saints

Derrick E. Hingle - USA TODAY Sports

It was hard enough for New Orleans to deal with having a Super Bowl chance robbed from them via questionable call in the NFC Championship Game versus the Los Angeles Rams; however, it now faces the option of possibly losing one-half its talented backfield. 

Mark Ingram, a former standout at the University of Alabama, hits the free agency mark in March – ending his four-year extension that he signed in 2015 worth $16 million.  

Since being taken in first-round (No. 28 overall pick) of the 2011 NFL Draft, Ingram has been highly productive for the Saints. He tallied 6,007 career rushing yards in eight seasons, which places second all-time in franchise history behind Deuce McAllister.

Ingram recorded his 50th career rushing score last season, moving him past McAllister for first all-time.  

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Despite battling injuries during the early part of his tenure, the 2009 Heisman winner turned the page in 2014 and became one of the National Football League’s best running backs.  

He’s totaled 1,000+ yards from scrimmage four seasons (2014-17) and two 1,000-yard rushing campaigns in 2016 and 2017. Ingram is a two-time Pro Bowl selection and though he was suspended the first four games of 2018 – violated NFL’s substance abuse policy – he returned with 645 yards rushing and six scores on 138 carries and posted a pair of 100-yard games. 

Per a story from The Times-Picayune on Jan. 14the 29-year-old does not want to leave New Orleans 

“I was drafted here. I met my wife here. My children were born here,” Ingram said to the publication. “Very rarely does anybody get to spend their career in one place. I love New Orleans. I love this team. I love this organization, so we’ll see. We’ll see what happens. I hope we win a Super Bowl and hopefully everything works out. It’s a business, and I hope everything works out. I love it here.” 

The man behind the phrase, “Look at the details,” shares a dynamic backfield with former University of Tennessee stud, Alvin Kamara. Aside from complementing each other, the duo provides great help for quarterback Drew Brees to continue playing the game at a high level. 

Ingram is vastly closing in on the age (30) where most backs start to severely decline in production; nevertheless, he feels as if he still has more in the tank to offer.  

Though running backs are undervalued in the NFL and Ingram wants to remain a Saint, he desires a good contract and some team is going to provide him with one. 

For Tide fans, the hope is that New Orleans re-signs him.  

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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