Cameron Meredith is “way ahead of schedule” in his rehab

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Cameron Meredith did not participate in team drills Thursday, but Sean Payton said the Saints receiver is “way ahead of schedule” in his return from a knee injury that kept him out all of last season.

“I made a comment to [Saints’ director of sports medicine] Beau [Lowery] two days ago during the walk-through,” Payton said, via Amos Morale III of the Times-Picayune. “Just watching him move around and, you guys saw him, he’s way ahead of schedule. And certainly where our doctor our doctors had hoped and even better.

“So he’s going to factor in this year. He’s a player that we’ve got a real clear vision for.”

Meredith, who caught 66 passes for 888 yards and four touchdowns in 2016, was injured during the preseason while with the Bears. The Saints signed the restricted free agent to an offer sheet that Chicago declined to match.

He expects to be ready for the start of the season.