Scott Fujita signed a one-day contract with the New Orleans Saints so he could retire as a member of the organization, the team announced Monday.
Fujita, who will turn 34 Sunday, spent the past three seasons playing linebacker for the Browns after signing as an unrestricted free agent in 2010. He suffered a neck injury last year that forced him to sit out the majority of the season and foreshadowed his retirement.
Fujita signed his one-day deal with the Saints while overlooking Machu Picchu, Peru, in the Andes Mountains alongside friend and former teammate Steve Gleason, who suffers from ALS and is raising awareness about the disease with Fujita’s help.
“I’ve been fortunate to play in this league for a long time and for some great organizations, but there is no doubt that my times spent in New Orleans were some of the best years of my life,” Fujita said in a statement released by the Saints. “The way the team and the community embraced us when we first arrived, and the way they continue to do so, even today, shows how deep this connection is. I’m honored to be a part of this organization and so proud to retire as a New Orleans Saint.”
Fujita started 22 of the 23 games in which he appeared for the Browns and compiled 116 tackles, including 4½ sacks. He was a member of the Saints when they won the Super Bowl to end the 2009 season.
The NFL implicated Fujita in the Saints’ bounty scandal last year and suspended him three games, but he fought the accusations every step of the way and was exonerated in the end. Fujita, a member of the NFL Players Association’s executive committee, is known as an outspoken player safety advocate.
University of Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, a candidate to be drafted by the Browns sixth overall on Thursday, might not be ready for training camp because of offseason shoulder surgery, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
In February at the NFL Scouting Combine, Milliner said he suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder Nov. 10 against Texas A&M and would have it surgically repaired March 12. Milliner said it would take him “probably two months” to rehabilitate.
However, Milliner told the Inquirer the pre-draft process has interfered. Milliner has visited several teams, including the Browns.
“We haven’t been able to do the rehab like I want to because I’ve been going to different teams,” Milliner said. “But once the draft is over, I’ll be able to start to rehab it and try to get back on track.”
Sports Illustrated’s Peter King wrote the following in his most recent Monday Morning Quarterback column: “I am starting to hear teams have injury concerns about Milliner’s shoulder.”
And ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Milliner's medical history includes a total of five surgeries: right knee scope, sports hernia, right tibia stress fracture, left shoulder and right shoulder.
Browns CEO Joe Banner was asked last week during a pre-draft news conference whether the organization would select a prospect coming off surgery for a torn labrum.
Oregon outside linebacker/defensive end Dion Jordan, another projected top-10 pick who also visited the Browns, had surgery for the same type of injury in February.
“As long as the doctors tell us it’s going to be fine, it won’t be a factor,” Banner said.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com/browns.abj.