Six-time Pro Bowl guard Jahri Evans might have said his goodbyes to New Orleans (again), but that doesn’t mean he’s saying goodbye to the NFL.
“I had a good season last year, we did a lot of good things, and I’m just waiting for that phone call, right situation,” Evans said Thursday on Good Morning Football. “As long as I’m still playing at an elite level, I’ll strap on the helmet and give it a go.”
Evans, who played 10 seasons with the Saints but was released back in 2015, was one of their better offensive linemen last year. The Seahawks picked him up for training camp but released him in early September, allowing Evans the chance to reunite with coach Sean Payton. It was the subject of some regret by Seattle general manager John Schneider, though he could give Evans another opportunity to play this season. Like so many linemen of a certain age, Evans is now tossed into the annual pool of one-year wonders, destined to wander the landscape playing good football with no firm commitment from an NFL club. Think former Jets guard Willie Colon, with more of a pedigree.
“It was a little shocking for me at first,” Evans said of the first time he was let go by the Saints. “When I signed a seven-year deal seven years ago, I saw myself playing off that contract and then some. We had a lot of success on the offensive side of the ball. So I didn’t really see the release coming, but I knew it was CAP situations. I went to Seattle where Nate (Burleson) used to play. Went out there for training camp. Did a couple of good things and they put me back in. Obviously, the guys I was playing with thought they were going to play which was a little confusing cause they were doing really well when I missed, you know year 10 I missed five games. That’s the most I’ve missed in my career, only two before that. I was glad to come back there. (I) had to swallow my pride a little bit, obviously. Playing for vet minimum and starting is not easy. I just wanted to be with my guys. (I) did it for them really.”
The question now becomes: Will he do it again? Evans can find a starting job in the NFL this year. Teams will lose offensive linemen this summer and they will be less than impressed by the ones they draft. Evans, by all accounts, is an excellent locker room presence with years of experience. His time in New Orleans should earn him the right to play another season.
Will a team end up making it worth his while?