Alvin Kamara battled injuries for the first time in his career, nursing knee and ankle issues in 2019. The Saints running back missed two games and played through others at less than 100 percent.
In March, the NFL’s official account tweeted some of Kamara’s top moments last season, prompting Kamara to reply, “On 1 leg. . .At 75%. . .but we back to 100.”
“He’s the only one that knows exactly what he went through, but I know this, he wasn’t 100 percent the entire season,” Saints running backs coach Joel Thomas said, via Luke Johnson of NOLA.com. “There was a point where, whether it was a back, a knee, an ankle, whatever it was, he battled through it the best he could.
“Bottom line, his 75 percent might be someone else’s 100 percent, and that’s why he’s out there still trying to go and play and put his best foot forward.”
Kamara finished last season with his fewest yards from scrimmage (1,330) and fewest touchdowns (six) in his three seasons. Still, he earned his third Pro Bowl nod.
Kamara was at his best in a Sept. 22 victory over the Seahawks, gaining 69 yards rushing, 92 receiving and scoring two touchdowns on 25 touches.
“That was vintage Alvin Kamara football right there,” Thomas said.
The Saints want more of that in 2020 and are expecting more of that with a healthy Kamara.
“He wants to put forward a better season than he put forward last year, plain and simple,” Thomas said. “That’s the true sign of a competitor: Are they happy with what last season was, or do they want to keep getting better? I know in his heart and his mind that what he put out there wasn’t 100 percent him all the time as far as his best football.”
Kamara is entering the final year of a rookie contract that will pay him $2.3 million.