Saints Put Jonathan Vilma On IR

Jonathan Vilma’s season is over and carer is in doubt after the New Orleans Saints placed Vilma to injured reserve, ending his season – and possibly his career – only three days after he had returned for his first game of this season.

Still, his teammates expect him to be around and play a role in their success going forward.

”He’s the heart and soul (of the defense). His voice speaks very, very loud,” veteran safety Roman Harper said. ”He’s always with us. He taught me how to play this game. There’s a mental aspect of what he brings to a team and the leadership aspect is matched by none. He’ll still be around and still be doing whatever he needs to do.

”We’ve always called him player-coach anyway,” Harper added. ”He knows everything.”

Vilma began the season on short-term injured reserve because of an arthroscopic procedure in August on his left knee, which has troubled him through multiple surgeries over the past two-plus seasons. The designation allowed the 10th-year linebacker to return to practice in Week 8 and to the active roster in Week 9.

Vilma was activated Saturday and played 12 defensive snaps in a 26-20 loss to his former team, the New York Jets, on Sunday. That represented about 20 percent of the Saints’ defensive snaps. He was credited with one tackle.

Coach Sean Payton did not explain or even acknowledge the roster move when he met with reporters after practice Wednesday, about two hours before it had been formally posted by the NFL. Payton generally declines to address roster moves until they’ve been made official.

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