Everyone in New Orleans is hoping to avoid cratering in the first season without Drew Brees as the franchise quarterback since 2005, but it's not looking promising at the moment. Not only are they locked in a weird saga with record-setting All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas -- who allegedly ignored their calls and waited six months to undergo ankle surgery that will now sideline him indefinitely -- but now they may also be without starting kicker Wil Lutz for quite some time. Lutz left practice early on Saturday with an apparent injury and was scheduled to undergo tests this week to determine if surgery is required to repair a potential core muscle injury.
It appears not long after news of the situation broke, via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Lutz himself confirmed he will indeed have surgery.
"Unfortunately, I found out that my training camp will be cut short due to an injury that had progressively worsened," the veteran kicker said, via Twitter. "After talking with our excellent medical team and training staff, as well as a second opinion from a specialist, we've decided it's in our best interest to get this fixed now in order to miss the least amount of time possible. Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers! I love the game of football, so sitting won't be easy, but I look forward to attacking rehab and coming back healthier and stronger to help this team win! WHODAT!"
The New Orleans Saints quickly held tryouts for a new kicker, and reportedly agreed to terms with Brett Maher, according to ESPN's Mike Triplett. The 31-year-old has spent time with several different NFL clubs, but did get some run with the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 and 2019. In 29 games, he converted on 49 of 66 kicks (74.2 percent) with a long of 63 yards, and missed just one of his 69 extra point attempts. He most recently spent time on the Arizona Cardinals' practice squad.
A core muscle injury that requires surgery has an average prognosis of up to eight weeks recovery time following the procedure, and considering Lutz is a kicker (that position demands much more of the core than most others), there's a chance he'd be sidelined longer.
Lutz is a former undrafted free agent who signed on with the Baltimore Ravens in 2016 but was waived during final roster cut-downs that year, going on to sign with the Saints only days later. He'd use that motivation and quickly improve, going on to earn a seat on the PFWA All-Rookie team in New Orleans and eventually became a Pro Bowl kicker in 2019, signing a five-year extension with the Saints two years ago.
He's had his struggles as of late but, more often than not, he's been a weapon for the Saints and a hero with his game-changing kicks. If he's not on the field for any amount of time in 2021, it will be a major blow to the team.