New Orleans Saints sign former star Deuce McAllister

Michael Tortorich

NEW ORLEANS – Deuce McAllister, a former star running back, has signed with the New Orleans Saints a day before their NFC divisional playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals.

McAllister was released by the Saints in February. The former Ole Miss record-breaking running back has not played in the NFL this season.

"Deuce McAllister has always embodied the spirit of the New Orleans Saints and the city of New Orleans," Saints head coach Sean Payton said. "We're excited to have him back with the team and to have him lead us out on to the field tomorrow."

Starting Saints running back Pierre Thomas has been dealing with a rib injury in practice throughout the week, but he is expected to play. The Saints stable of backs also includes Reggie Bush, Mike Bell and Lynell Hamilton.

As a longtime fan favorite, McAllister's presence on the Louisiana Superdome field Saturday could provide an emotional boost to the Saints.

New Orleans placed defensive tackle Rodney Leisle on injured reserve to open a spot for McAllister.

"I'm speechless," said McAllister of re-joining the team. "I don't know that there are words to describe this feeling. I do know that we have some unfinished business that we started a few years ago and we want to finish the deal."

McAllister, the first-round draft choice of the Saints in 2001, played in 97 regular season games for the Saints from 2001-08. He holds several team records.