METAIRIE, Louisiana — Saints outside linebacker Victor Butler, who was seen as a key free agent acquisition and projected starter in 2013, has been included among eight cuts made by New Orleans as the club prepares to close out the preseason with a roster of 75 players.
New Orleans brought in Butler from Dallas, where he had played his first four NFL seasons, including two seasons under current Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. However, Butler missed all of last season with a torn knee ligament and the 27-year-old has been sidelined much of this preseason by an ankle injury.
Saints coach Sean Payton said Butler's lack of practice and playing time made it tough to get a proper evaluation on him in time for this season.
"He is frustrated I'm sure, just because (of) the early injury and then the setback this year in training camp after the rehab" of his knee, Payton said. "It is always difficult, especially when a player doesn't really have a chance to put his best foot forward."
Also included in Tuesday's cuts were rookie quarterback Logan Kilgore, defensive back Rod Sweeting, linebacker Kevin Reddick, outside linebacker Rufus Johnson, offensive lineman Manase Foketi, defensive end George Uko and tight end Travis Beckum.
Sweeting and Reddick both spent time on the Saints' active roster all of last season. Reddick led the Saints with 13 special teams tackles in 2013 and had been expected to play a similar role again this season while competing for snaps at inside linebacker. Sweeting played in nine regular season games and in the playoffs on both defense and special teams last season.
Johnson was a sixth-round draft choice in 2013 who started out on the Saints' practice squad and wound up on the active roster by the playoffs.
"Every year it is difficult because, look, they have been with us, a lot of them, all through the winter, spring and minicamps," Payton said of the players who were let go. "You just hope they receive another opportunity and have another chance."
Notes: QB Drew Brees returned to practice on Tuesday following the birth of his fourth child — and first girl — on Monday night. Brees missed a Monday evening practice to be in the delivery room, where he said he "actually got to take the snap, so to speak, and catch her on the way out. That's a memory I'll have forever." Brees said he and his wife wanted four children and probably won't have another. His boys are: Baylen, 5, Bowen, 3 and Callen, 2.The quarterback did not immediately reveal his baby girl's name. "We've had four names kind of narrowed down for about the last three months. I think that got narrowed down to two this past week. We wanted to see her and spend time with her and see if we could feel that personality," Brees said. "She looks exactly like what we're going to name her. I'm just going to wait until it is official. It's not on the birth certificate yet."