Saints release Bushrod as roster shuffle continues

METAIRIE, La. — The New Orleans Saints promoted running back Jonathan Williams to their active roster and released veteran offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod on Saturday as they continued a weeklong roster shuffle at both positions.

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It’s unclear if there is any chance that Bushrod could come back at some point. He was jockeying for a roster position in an offensive line group that became even more crowded earlier this week, when the Saints re-signed veterans Josh LeRibeus and Michael Ola.

Bushrod then missed practice on Thursday and Friday for an unspecified non-injury reason.

Bushrod, 34, was the starting left tackle on the Saints’ 2009 Super Bowl-winning team after they drafted him in the fourth round out of Towson in 2007. He then went on to play for the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins. He has started a total of 122 regular-season games and seven playoff games at both tackle and guard during his 11-year career.

The Saints brought Bushrod back in March to compete for a role as a “swing” backup at both positions.

Williams, meanwhile, is now back on the Saints’ roster after he was one of their most surprising cuts last Saturday. The third-year pro, who spent the week practicing with the team as a member of the practice squad, could still wind up playing a role in Sunday’s season opener at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Williams likely will split time with newly signed veteran Mike Gillislee as the backup tailbacks behind starter Alvin Kamara.

The Saints need running back depth while Pro Bowler Mark Ingram is serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. But their pecking order at the position has been impossible to decipher this week.

For most of the preseason, it looked as if Williams and rookie Boston Scott would be the Saints’ top two backups behind Kamara. But then they cut Williams on Saturday, signed Gillislee on Sunday after he was released by the New England Patriots and cut Scott on Wednesday.

Scott also was re-signed to New Orleans’ practice squad on Thursday, but he won’t be active for Sunday’s game.