Linebacker Gerald Hodges grateful for opportunity with Saints after time away fr…

Veteran linebacker Gerald Hodges lately had a style of life with out soccer. 

Hodges, whom the Buffalo Payments launched on Sept. three, spent 5 weeks as a free agent earlier than signing a deal Wednesday with the New Orleans Saints. 

The hiatus brought on anxious moments for Hodges, who realized he did not like being absent from a sport he cares deeply about. 

“For those who love soccer, you do not need to be away from soccer and I used to be away from it for 5 weeks,” Hodges stated. “I obtained an opportunity to mirror and simply truly understand the chance that was at hand, and know the significance of what soccer means to me. It was simply an thrilling feeling to have one other alternative to play soccer once more.” 

The 6-foot-2, 236-pound Hodges, a local of Woodbury, N.J., entered the league in 2013 out of Penn State as a fourth-spherical decide with the Minnesota Vikings, the place he spent two seasons earlier than being traded to the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 6, 2015. 

Following two seasons with the 49ers, Hodges signed a free-agent deal in Might with Buffalo, the place he was projected at weak aspect linebacker. 

He survived the Payments’ roster cuts on Sept. 2 for the preliminary fifty three-man roster, solely to be waived the next day in a transfer that surprised Hodges. 

“It was simply shocking,” he stated. “It was shocking to lots of people within the facility, however everyone knows the enterprise of the sport. I am completely happy I obtained one other alternative with the Saints.” 

Hodges, who ran a four.70 forty-yard sprint velocity on the 2013 NFL Scouting Mix, now prefers to go away the previous behind and concentrate on shifting ahead. 

The 26-yr-previous Hodges offers the Saints expertise and flexibility to play outdoors or inside. He has appeared in fifty four profession video games with 26 begins, totaling 224 tackles (163 solo), three 1/2 sacks, three interceptions and a pressured fumble.  

“He’s somebody who has actual good measurement, he runs properly,” coach Sean Payton stated Thursday in a teleconference. “He had a great exercise right here final week.” 

Hodges’ signing additionally comes on the heels of the Saints putting rookie linebacker Alex Anzalone (shoulder) on injured reserve. 

“I feel, for us, it is wanting intently at our depth on the place,” Payton stated. “I feel there’s some versatility with the participant, and so it made sense for us.” 

Hodges, who’s his fifth skilled season, stated it hasn’t taken him lengthy to acclimate to the locker room. 

He additionally complimented the veteran basis of the linebacker group, which consists of A.J. Klein, Manti Te’o, Craig Robertson, Adam Bighill and former school teammate Nate Stupar. 

“Simply seeing how guys work right here and seeing how everybody goes about apply, issues like that, it is easy to adapt to,” Hodges stated. “Everyone seems to be speaking and speaking. That makes every part so a lot better.” 

As for selecting up the Saints defensive playbook, Hodges factors out he performed on two totally different groups in his first 4 years within the league and needed to modify to totally different head coaches, coordinators and place coaches. 

He appears…

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