Free agent running back Mark Ingram isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. Will he feature in a major role with the black-and-gold this upcoming season?
New Orleans Saints‘ Alvin Kamara may be the team’s No. 1 ball-carrier going into 2023, but his long-time backup Mark Ingram is more than just Kamara’s wingman — he’s a bona fide legend.
Ingram currently ranks second in all-time rushing attempts in the league, behind only Ezekiel Elliott and ahead of stars like Derrick Henry, Nick Chubb, and Aaron Jones.
He has been in the NFL since 2011, which is longer than any running back within the top-25 of the all-time rushing attempts list. Still, Ingram, who is a free agent this offseason, could have quite a few miles left on his speedometer.
The 33-year-old played out his contract with the Saints last season yet failed to make a resounding impact; in 2022, he recorded just 62 rushing attempts and missed a chunk of the season due to a knee injury. New Orleans’ rushing attack was already limping to begin with, and the team’s lack of elite quarterback play didn’t help.
In a new era with Derek Carr, a healthy Michael Thomas, and Kamara leading the offense, does Ingram still warrant a spot on the roster?
He certainly wants one.
In an appearance on ESPN’s “The Paul Finebaum Show”, Ingram said he had “more juice in the tank.”
Mark Ingram wants another chance in the NFL, perhaps with his former team
“I think sharing backfields, I think not getting overloaded with 300 carries a season for like five or six seasons in a row, I think that has helped me make it to Year 13 and still have a good body where I feel strong, I feel explosive, I feel like I can contribute and produce at a high level.”
The former NOLA back has indeed shared backfields for most of his career and earned Saints fans’ trust back in 2012. Once Kamara took over in 2018, he left for better opportunities in Baltimore but ultimately came back in 2021 to anchor the Saints’ running back room.
Ingram would be entering his 13th NFL season in 2023; in league history, only 28 running backs have played that long likely due to the physically taxing and grueling nature of the position.
This offseason, Ingram joins Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette, and Kareem Hunt as aging backs dumped by their former teams and possibly looking for a fresh start.
There’s a chance Ingram could re-sign with the Saints on a cheap deal, and it would be wholesome to see him end his career in black-and-gold.
Like the other free agents at his position, Ingram may have to wait until after the draft to see if the Saints (or any other team) wants him. In a devalued running back market, Ingram’s and the Saints’ mutual love and respect for one another may tie their fates together again.