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Lattimore committed to Saints after trade talk

todayJune 18, 2024 11

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    Katherine Terrell, ESPN Staff WriterJun 11, 2024, 05:45 PM ET

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      Katherine Terrell came back to ESPN to cover the New Orleans Saints in the summer of 2022. She left the company in 2019 after joining in 2016 to cover the Cincinnati Bengals. Katherine is a graduate of LSU and a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native, and she has covered the NFL since 2013. You can follow Katherine on Twitter: @Kat_Terrell

METAIRIE, La. — New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore said he is committed to the team after six months of speculation about his status and whether he would be traded this offseason.

Lattimore spoke to the media at mandatory minicamp Tuesday for the first time since the beginning of the 2023 season.

“Yes, sir. I’m here. You know what I’m saying?” Lattimore said. “I’ve got to be here, I’ve got to be present. I’m not thinking about whether I’m going to get traded or nothing like that. I don’t really care to be honest. I don’t.”

Lattimore was not present throughout OTAs, which has been his routine for the past several offseasons. He and running back Alvin Kamara were both in attendance at practice for the first time this offseason.

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Lattimore worked with the starters in 11-on-11 drills in his first practice back.

“Lattimore has never missed a mandatory [minicamp] … so I kind of expected he would be here,” Saints coach Dennis Allen said. “I think I’ll reserve judgment until I get a chance to watch the tape. I wouldn’t say anything stood out to me one way or the other. I think he made one nice play on the boundary over there. But to have both him and Alvin here, I thought it was good. It was nice to have him.”

Lattimore said that he never asked for a trade even though the team worked with him to restructure his contract on Dec. 29, 2023, two weeks before the offseason.

Lattimore’s comments on Tuesday indicate that the situation is behind them now.

“We had a situation, a personal situation that we worked through. But it wasn’t like I wanted to leave, or he wanted me to leave. Nothing like that,” Lattimore said. “I don’t know how y’all looked at it, but it was just a situation that happened, personally. It wasn’t nothing like that, like I wanted to leave. I told him I didn’t want to leave now.”

Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said in January that there was “a reason” for the restructured contract but declined to go into it. Speculation about Lattimore’s status continued through the draft, when the Saints took Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry with a second-round pick.

Although Loomis initially confirmed Lattimore would be on the team in 2024 during a pre-draft news conference in April, he walked it back and said everyone is tradeable.

Things appeared to have shifted in the weeks after the draft and after Allen and Lattimore spoke on the phone in May. Allen said “yeah” when asked if Lattimore would be on the team this season, and said they had a productive discussion after limited contact in the offseason.

“I just thought it was something we needed to communicate,” Allen said during OTAs in May. “There’s been a lot of talk outside our building about trades and things of that nature. And so, I just felt like it was probably time that he and I had a conversation. … It was a positive conversation, and we’re looking forward to getting him out when he’s here and working with him.”

“Not for me,” Lattimore said when asked if he thought a discussion with Allen was necessary to clear the air. “But of course communication is the key for everything. We talked and we talked through it. We made a plan for what I’m going to do this offseason and all that. That’s all we did.”

Lattimore said he has not been concerned with the trade rumors and hasn’t given it much thought.

“If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen,” Lattimore said. “If not, then I’m here. So, I really don’t get into it, really don’t feed into it to be honest. I talked to DA already and we good. Everything else was just talk to me.”

Lattimore said he doesn’t hold any grudges about the team seeking a trade and understands that dealing with multiple injuries over the past two seasons hasn’t helped.

“I ain’t got no problem with it. It’s all business at the end of the day. I can’t have no personal problem because you want to trade me or something. It is what it is,” Lattimore said. “Everybody knows that they come here and what can happen. I’ve been hurt for two years, so I understand that people probably don’t think I’m the same type of player or whatever the case may be. All I’ve got to do is prove to people that I am. So that really falls on me to be honest.”

Lattimore said he feels good after missing 17 games because of injury over the past two seasons. He injured his ankle in Week 10 of last year and did not return in 2023 and lacerated his kidney in 2022.

“Just fluke injuries, really nothing I can do about it. It was a kidney and my rib for one, a freak accident. And then my ankle, I got rolled up on. It wasn’t really nothing like my body breaking down or nothing like that, so I’m not too worried.”

Lattimore, the 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year and a four-time Pro Bowl selection, said he still believes he ranks above all the other corners in the league. He said he’s ready to remind everyone of that.

“I’m No. 1. For sure. I’m No. 1,” he said in response to a statement about cornerback rankings. “I want to [prove that]. I feel like I started last year like that, All-Pro type of season, to me. I’m just ready to be better than that, then what I was. And I’m working towards that. I’m just ready.”

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