Time to pull C.J. Spiller off the roster bubble in New Orleans.
Speaking Tuesday with Sirius XM NFL Radio, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis made it clear the team expects the seventh-year running back to make an impact in 2016.
"I think we will see the real C.J. Spiller and we will be able to give him a lot of opportunities to get back to player that he was," Loomis said, per The Times-Picayune. "We are looking for some good things from him. He's a special player when he is right."
After signing with New Orleans last offseason, Spiller gushed over "how he was going to be used," leaving coach Sean Payton to return the compliment, saying last March: "When you watch his film, you think of a lot of things he can do. He's physical, he's the most explosive player on the field a lot of times when you're watching him."
By Week 16, though, Spiller was a healthy scratch before landing on season-ending injured reserve to rest a banged-up knee. The former Bills star played in 13 games in 2015 but never held a major role in the attack after signing a four-year, $16 million deal. Three years removed from his monstrous 1,400-yard rushing campaign, Spiller churned out just 112 yards on the ground.
"I don't know that he was ever quite right health-wise," Loomis told Sirius. "I think it begins with that. I know he worked hard. He had a significant injury. He worked hard at it, his rehab was going along pretty well, we felt good about him in training camp and yet during the course of the season it was never quite right."
We pegged Spiller as a bona fide candidate for release, but the Saints are thinking differently. Hoping to turn his tantalizing potential into a healthy and productive season, Payton and Loomis appear ready to give this enigmatic runner a fresh start in The Big Easy.