The New Orleans Saints saw a lot of changes this offseason. Will those changes include losing star running back Alvin Kamara?
The Saints brought in Derek Carr to be the franchise’s anchor at quarterback. They signed Jamaal Williams in free agency. They fortified their defense with their first two draft picks in Bryan Bresee and Isaiah Foskey. New Orleans’ third draft pick, though, seemed like a fortification of strength, as they drafted running back Kendre Miller out of TCU to go along with Kamara. Were they preparing for the inevitable?
Kamara’s future is in question, as it appears his day of reckoning is coming sooner rather than later. Will the NFL suspend Kamara for his felony battery charge from the 2022 Pro Bowl weekend in Las Vegas? Here’s everything we know so far.
Update: On Aug. 4, the NFL suspended Kamara for the first three games of the 2023 season.
Will the NFL Suspend Saints RB Alvin Kamara?
Kamara did not face any discipline from his February 2022 arrest in Las Vegas last season, but he could during the upcoming 2023 campaign. The NFL tends to wait for a player’s legal process to play out before handing out a suspension.
On March 2, 2023, Kamara pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit battery and substantial bodily harm charges at a Clark County (Nevada) courthouse. Kamara was indicted on Feb. 16 for an alleged assault on Feb. 5, 2022, in Las Vegas, along with Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Chris Lammons and two other men. The alleged incident took place during the weekend of the 2022 Pro Bowl.
Kamara had been set for a July 31 trial date, but he made a plea agreement in early July. The veteran running back agreed to plead no contest to a misdemeanor charge of breaching the peace, according to David Charns of 8 News Now. Kamara will have to perform community service and pay his victim $100,000 in medical bills.
Additionally, Kamara also settled a civil suit with the victim, Darnell Greene. Greene’s attorney, Tony Buzbee, indicated on Instagram that the suit had been settled with confidential terms.
Shifting his charges from a felony to a misdemeanor could prove critical for Kamara as he awaits NFL discipline. The league could look favorably upon Kamara’a plea deal, but that doesn’t mean the NFL won’t still suspend him.
“We have been closely monitoring all developments in the matter which remains under review,” the league said in a statement on July 11.
Kamara plans to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Aug. 2, as Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com reported.
Kamara should expect to be suspended after his visit with Goodell, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. His discussion with Goodell — and his explanation of the incident — will play a factor in how long Kamara is ultimately suspended.
“I think Alvin really wants to get out ahead of this and have a chance to visit with Roger and kind of give him his side of the story,” Saints head coach Dennis Allen said on July 31. “And look, at the end of the day, I think part of it is ‘Let’s get some resolution with where we’re at and move forward.’ I think Alvin is looking forward to putting this behind him and focusing in on what he has to do to be the best he can for our team this season.”
Under the NFL’s personal conduct policy, the standard ban for physical violence has been six games. The NFL can levy a penalty even though Kamara has pleaded down, and they could have issued a suspension even if he avoided all legal consequences.
Adding Williams and drafting Miller are insurance policies for the Saints if Kamara is lost for some time. However, if somehow Kamara is available, the Saints backfield may be the best Carr has ever worked with. Even getting Kamara back later in the season would be exciting for the Saints.
Preparing adequately for life without Kamara will be crucial for the Saints to make a playoff run. They don’t appear to have been caught flat-footed. Now all they can do is wait to see if they’ll have a three-headed hydra in the backfield or two.