Sean Payton: Mark Ingram will 'absolutely' play in Week 8
Mark Ingram Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Saints HC Sean Payton: Mark Ingram will 'absolutely' play in Week 8

Just six days ahead of the 2021 NFL trade deadline, the New Orleans Saints made headlines Wednesday night in acquiring running back Mark Ingram from the Houston Texans. At 31 years old and in his 11th pro season, Ingram isn't what he used to be, but Saints fans are hopeful that a return to the team that drafted him 28th overall in 2011 will bring some flashbacks to his back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons in 2016 and 2017.

Saints head coach Sean Payton told reporters that the expectation is for Ingram to immediately get some playing time on Sunday. The Saints and division-rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers will battle at 4:25 p.m. ET in Week 8.

In seven games with the Texans this season, Ingram was averaging a career-low 3.2 yards per attempt and had only scored one touchdown (in week one), but he was leading a three-headed rushing attack with David Johnson and Phillip Lindsay with 92 carries. Ingram started the season with a 26-carry, 85-yard, one-touchdown game in a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he has had three other games with at least 14 carries and 41 yards, including a 73-yard effort against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 6.

Ingram now reunites with former teammate Alvin Kamara in the Saints backfield, which should feature a much-needed upgrade at offensive line and will allow him to be a change-of-pace pack rather than the guy carrying the load.

During the 2017 season, Ingram led the Saints rushing attack with 230 carries for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns, while Kamara pitched in 120 attempts for 728 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground and 81 receptions for 826 yards and an additional five touchdowns through the air as a rookie. In 2018, before Ingram left for a two-year stint with the Baltimore Ravens, the duo combined for 332 carries for 1,528 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground.

Victor Barbosa is a passionate follower of MLB, the NBA and NFL, with a specific interest in the Boston-area teams. As a 90s kid, he knows how spoiled he's been, particularly with the BoSox run of championships (he grew up with a dog named Nomar and a cat named Big Papi). Now he lives with his fiancee and two pups (Hershey and Mosby) outside of Albany, NY. Follow Victor on Twitter at @vbarbosa1127.

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