METAIRIE, La. (AP) -- The New Orleans Saints reached a settlement with injured defensive tackle Hollis Thomas, allowing the 12-year veteran to come back later this season with the Saints -- or any other team.
Coach Sean Payton, after Thursday's practice, said Thomas knows if he's able to rehab his injury, then returning is certainly an option. Payton initially announced that Thomas, who had surgery to repair a torn right triceps, was going to be placed on injured reserve. That would have ended his season, but also would have kept him under contract with New Orleans in 2009.
However, Payton says Thomas agreed to an undisclosed payment in order to get his release.
Thomas got hurt during joint practices with the Houston Texans on August 13 and was expected to need two months to recover. He said after surgery that he still hoped to play in the final 10 games of the regular season.
Thomas spent the past two seasons with the Saints, playing in 30 games, starting 26. He had 58 tackles and three-and-a-half sacks last year.
This week, the Saints signed veteran defensive tackle Alvin McKinley, who has played eight seasons in the NFL and last year saw action in 15 games for Denver, starting 10.