Saints 2021 first-round pick Payton Turner (shoulder) says he’s ‘cleared’ to return

Injury overshadowed promise in Payton Turner’s rookie season with the New Orleans Saints, as the defensive end concluded his first year on injured reserve.

Turner, who underwent shoulder surgery in November of 2021, offered up promising news Wednesday, though, as he announced he has been “cleared” ahead of training camp.

It’s been a long road to recovery, I had a pretty major shoulder surgery last November and didn’t have quite the rookie year I wanted but shoutout to everybody that’s stayed down with me and helped me get to this point, blessed to say I’ve been CLEARED🙏🏽🏈

It’s a positive turn for the Saints, who didn’t get much more than a sample-size showing of Turner’s potential last year.

Turner, selected 28th in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, was with the Saints through the first eight weeks of the 2021 season. Inactive three times, Turner played in five games, tallying 12 tackles and a sack. His last game was Nov. 7 versus the Atlanta Falcons, in which he tallied three tackles in 17 snaps, and was then lost for the remainder of the season with the shoulder injury.

The 24-year-old Houston product will be somewhat of a fresh addition to an already solid Saints defense. With minimal experience under his belt, Turner is likely to still have plenty of learning to do, but his clearance ahead of training camp is a boon for New Orleans. The Saints are coming off an injury-ravaged season that saw quarterback Jameis Winston and wide receiver Michael Thomas, among others, deal with significant injuries — which very much overshadowed Turner’s loss.

Now, the 2021 first-rounder will get a second shot to make a first impression.

Saints camp starts for rookies on July 19 and for veterans on July 26.

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