Michael Ola‘s ankle injury will result in the Saints sending the offensive lineman to IR, and it represents an interesting chapter in a long comeback story.
The Saints, per Nick Underhill of The Advocate (on Twitter), will fill Ola’s roster spot with free agent tackle Derek Newton, who has not played football since October 2016.
While Newton’s career was thought to be over, the formerly dependable Texans tackle has participated in workouts during the 2018 season — most recently with the Saints. That audition will land the 31-year-old blocker a job with the 11-2 Saints.
Ola went down with a high ankle sprain during the Saints’ win over the Buccaneers, according to NOLA.com’s Josh Katzenstein (on Twitter). A journeyman who has started one game in the past three seasons, that coming this year for the Saints, Ola will end the year on IR. He has not played for the same team in consecutive seasons since coming into the league, spending time with the Bears, Lions, Chargers, Bills and Saints.
A 2011 seventh-round pick out of Arkansas State, Newton was the Texans’ starting right tackle from 2012’s first game until that career-defining night in Denver. Newton tore both of his patella tendons in that game. The Texans waived Newton via failed physical designation in April, and he field a $500K grievance. But Newton then worked out for the Jets, Cardinals and Saints in the fall. He may soon have a chance to suit up in a game again.
If Newton suits up for the Saints, he will be the first player in NFL history to dress for a game after suffering two patella tendon tears. Former Bears wide receiver Wendell Davis and former Ravens and Browns cornerback Gary Baxter returned to practice but never again suited up for a game after suffering these severe injuries, per NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.