Nov 29, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) carries the ball against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Saints’ Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas to play vs. Bears

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara and wide receiver Michael Thomas are available for Sunday’s NFC wild-card game against the visiting Chicago Bears.

Kamara was activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday while Thomas returned after being placed on injured reserve to allow his high ankle sprain to heal.

Returner Deonte Harris (neck) also is expected to be on the field after returning from injured reserve for New Orleans.

The Saints’ inactives included defensive end Trey Hendrickson, cornerback Ken Crawley, offensive lineman Derrick Kelly, wide receivers Austin Carr and Juwan Johnson, defensive lineman Malcolm Roach and running back Ty Montgomery.

The Bears’ inactives included linebackers Roquan Smith and Trevis Gipson, wide receiver Darnell Mooney (ankle), cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson and Buster Skrine, offensive lineman Lachavious Simmons and nose tackle Daniel McCullers.

–Field Level Media

Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) runs against the Minnesota Vikings in the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Saints activate RB Alvin Kamara, WR Michael Thomas

The New Orleans Saints activated running Alvin Kamara and wide receiver Michael Thomas, the team announced Saturday.

Both stars are expected to play in the Saints’ NFC wild-card game against the visiting Chicago Bears on Sunday.

Kamara, 25, sat out New Orleans’ 33-7 romp over the Carolina Panthers last Sunday after testing positive for COVID-19 in the previous week. He tied an NFL record with six touchdowns in a 52-33 victory over Minnesota on Christmas Day.

Kamara has recorded career-high totals in rushing yards (932), rushing touchdowns (16) and receptions (83) this season. He also has 756 receiving yards and five receiving scores.

Thomas is returning after being placed on injured reserve to allow his high ankle sprain to heal. The ankle has been problematic since midseason for Thomas, a 2019 All-Pro who had 149 receptions a year ago.

Thomas has 40 receptions in seven games in 2020.

Also on Saturday, the Saints activated wide receiver/returner Deonte Harris (neck) and cornerback Patrick Robinson (hamstring) from injured reserve. They also elevated linebacker Chase Hansen and receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey to the active roster from the practice squad.

–Field Level Media

Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) is defended by Minnesota Vikings cornerback Jeff Gladney (20) in the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Kamara fined $5K for wearing Christmas-themed cleats

New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara has been fined $5,000 by the NFL for wearing red and green cleats during the Saints’ Christmas Day win.

Though the league allowed Kamara to wear the cleats for the duration of the game, he was fined for non-conforming footwear.

Kamara made history in the cleats, becoming the first player to score six touchdowns in a game since Gale Sayers did it for the Chicago Bears in 1965. He anticipated the penalty.

“Oh, they’re probably going to fine me,” Kamara said after the Saints’ 52-33 win over Minnesota. “If they fine me, whatever it is, I’ll just match it and donate it to charity. You know that the Grinch always tries to steal Christmas.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 1, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) rushes the ball against the Chicago Bears during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Kamara (foot) misses practice but vows to play Sunday

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara missed Wednesday’s practice with a bone bruise in his foot but expects to play on Sunday.

Meanwhile, wideout Michael Thomas was back at practice, listed as limited participation. The same status was listed for quarterback Drew Brees (right shoulder).

Kamara’s injury is not considered serious, according to reports.

“You ever stub your toe on the corner of a bedpost or something?” Kamara said. “That (expletive) hurts.”

Kamara plans to practice Thursday and Saints coach Sean Payton said the back is day-to-day. The Saints have an key matchup with the NFC South-leading Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday night.

Kamara’s 987 yards from scrimmage are the most in the NFL.

Wideout Emmanuel Sanders was back at practice Wednesday after a stint on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He was on the list for 12 days after testing positive on Oct. 22. He missed two games.

Thomas hasn’t played since Week 1 with ankle and then hamstring injuries. He missed Week 5 after being disciplined for an altercation with a teammate at practice.

–Field Level Media

Jan 5, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) runs the ball for a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter of a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Saints, Kamara agree to $75M extension

Running back Alvin Kamara and the New Orleans Saints have reached agreement on a five-year, $75 million extension, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Kamara, 25, is reportedly due $77.13 million total, with a $15 million signing bonus, in a deal that keeps him in New Orleans through the 2025 season.

Kamara is due to earn a $2.13 million base salary in the final year of his rookie deal, per Spotrac.com.

His new contract puts him just behind Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey in terms of annual value. McCaffrey signed a four-year, $64 million extension in April that will average $16 million per season.

Also Saturday, running back Dalvin Cook and the Minnesota Vikings reached agreement on a five-year, $63 million extension, Rapoport reported.

Kamara rushed for 797 yards and added career lows in receiving yards (533) and total touchdowns (six) last season while being hampered by knee and ankle injuries. He played in 14 games, starting nine.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection and 2017 Offensive Rookie of the Year, Kamara has rushed for 2,408 yards and 27 touchdowns in 45 career games (25 starts) with the Saints. He also has 243 receptions for 2,068 yards and 10 scores.

The deal comes on the eve of the Saints opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which is scheduled to be played Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

–Field Level Media

Dec 29, 2019; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) on the sidelines in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Saints, Kamara ‘extremely close’ to extension

Running back Alvin Kamara and the New Orleans Saints are “extremely close” to a lucrative contract extension, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Tuesday.

Per Schefter, the Saints and Kamara’s representation are hoping to finalize a new deal in the coming days as a means to silence any trade speculation.

Kamara, 25, is heading into the final year of his rookie deal and is due to earn a $2.13 million base salary, per Spotrac.com.

By comparison, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey signed an extension in April that will average $16 million per season. He received a four-year, $64 million deal.

In addition, Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon recently signed a four-year contract worth $12 million per year.

ESPN reported that New Orleans was open to the idea of trading Kamara for a first-round pick in light of his recent four-day absence from practice. That talk, however, quieted before Kamara returned last Wednesday.

Kamara rushed for 797 yards and added career lows in receiving yards (533) and total touchdowns (six) last season while being hampered by knee and ankle injuries. He played in 14 games, starting nine.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection and 2017 Offensive Rookie of the Year, Kamara has rushed for 2,408 yards and 27 touchdowns in 45 career games (25 starts) with the Saints. He also has 243 receptions for 2,068 yards and 10 scores.

–Field Level Media

Dec 29, 2019; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) on the sidelines in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Kamara’s absences from camp contract-related

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara’s unexcused absences from training camp are believed to be contract-related, multiple media outlets reported Monday.

Saints coach Sean Payton has declined to specify a reason for the absences of Kamara, who has been missing from training camp since Friday.

Kamara, 25, is scheduled to make $2.133 million in the final year of his rookie contract, per Spotrac.com.

By comparison, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey signed an extension in April that will average $16 million per season. He received a four-year, $64 million deal.

Kamara rushed for 797 yards and added career lows in receiving yards (533) and touchdowns (six) last season while being hampered by knee and ankle injuries. He played in 14 games, starting nine.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection and 2017 Offensive Rookie of the Year, Kamara has rushed for 2,408 yards and 27 touchdowns in 45 career games (25 starts) with the Saints. He also has 243 receptions for 2,068 yards and 10 scores.

–Field Level Media