[RELATED: Saints To Sign LB Kiko Alonso]
Alonso hadn’t seen the field since the 2019 season, but he decided to reunite with the Saints on Thursday. Two days later, he’s hanging up his cleats. According to ESPN’s Katherine Terrell (on Twitter), Alonso’s reverse decision had nothing to do with his health. Rather, the veteran simply changed his mind, with Terrell noting that it’d be tough for the linebacker to return after such a lengthy absence if he wasn’t 100 percent committed.
Once a longtime starter, Alonso has not played since suffering an ACL tear in New Orleans’ wild-card loss to Minnesota in January 2020. During that 2019 campaign, Alonso started four of his 13 appearances and collected 31 tackles. Prior to his season in New Orleans, the linebacker had stints with the Bills and Dolphins. While Alonso never came close to replicating his 159-tackle rookie season (in which he earned PFWA NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors), he still topped 110 tackles for three straight seasons between 2016 and 2018.
Alonso will retire having compiled 588 tackles, seven forced fumbles, and 10 interceptions in 86 career games.
Since Alonso’s last regular-season game, the Saints drafted Zack Baun in the 2020 third round and Pete Werner in the 2021 second. The latter profiles as a better bet to start alongside Demario Davis this season. Rookie fifth-round pick D’Marco Jackson is currently sidelined, so Alonso was expected to provide at least some temporary depth at the position. As Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football points out on Twitter, the Saints may need to sign another middle linebacker to fill out their roster.