Alvin Kamara's absence, unexcused or not, has come to an end.
Kamara returned to Saints practice Wednesday as expected, ending a multi-day absence that followed the running back receiving an epidural shot in his back. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday the running back and the Saints were making progress in contract talks, but at some point, things went "sideways" in the discussions.
The contract negotiations, however far they progressed, occurred alongside the back ailment, leading some to believe Kamara may be using his injury as leverage for a new deal. That same speculation also led to the Saints not ruling out potentially trading Kamara, who would be much desired on the trade market, per Pelissero.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported later Tuesday "cooler heads" prevailed, with both sides returning to contract talks and the running back planning to return to practice.
As for the epidural shot in his back, it was to calm down SI joint inflammation and is not considered a "big deal," Rapoport reported.
Kamara has racked up 4,476 all-purpose yards and 37 total touchdowns in his three NFL seasons, producing at a clip that is worth much more than the $2.376 million he's set to make in 2020, the final year of his four-year rookie deal.
It seems as if it would behoove the Saints to make an effort to keep Kamara before he has a chance to hit the open market, but New Orleans isn't exactly flush with cap space. Saints coach Sean Payton told reporters Wednesday the team is "actively negotiating the contract with he and his agent."
We might soon see a conclusion to this brief drama. For now, though, Kamara is at least back on the field, providing Saints fans some relief.