Healthy Darren Sharper confident he'll find work in 2011

Two years ago, Darren Sharper had only one team in the NFL interested in him.

At this time a year ago, he was rehabilitating his way back from microfracture knee surgery to play again.

Now, at 35 and after 14 seasons in the NFL, Sharper is looking forward to playing again. With 63 career interceptions, Sharper is tied for sixth all-time and he wants to keep playing he tells John DeShazier of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

It is something I definitely don't have to do,” Sharper said. “I want to. I want to keep playing football.”

Sharper was essentially phased out by Malcolm Jenkins last year as the recovery from surgery cost Sharper the first half of the season.

“After last season, I really was very frustrated with how my season was and how our season went,” Sharper said. “If that was going to be my last year in the league, I didn't want it to go like that, in terms of being frustrated all year and not playing like myself. I want to show how healthy I am this year and play like I'm used to playing.”

Barring something unforeseen, it would be surprising at this point if the Saints bring Sharper back for a third season. If they pass on him, you have to wonder what kind of interest there will be in him elsewhere. He had a terrific season in 2009 but not many teams are going to gamble on that.

“I'm pretty sure I'm going to have an opportunity to play this year, so it's just a matter of getting the labor negotiations and collective bargaining situation straight,” Sharper said. “After that, I'll be like any other guy.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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