Saints must keep newly signed linebackers on active roster

Updated: December 5, 2008, 11:25 PM ET
By Chris Mortensen | ESPN.com

The New Orleans Saints face a roster dilemma Saturday after a federal judge put the NFL suspensions of running back Deuce McAllister and defensive end Will Smith on hold Friday.

Following Tuesday's suspensions, the Saints signed two players off the practice squads of the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins. Under league rules, both players must remain on the Saints' 53-man roster for at least three weeks.

The new players are linebackers -- Rob Ninkovich, signed off the Dolphins' practice squad, and Tearrius George, signed off the Cowboys practice squad. George is 6-foot-4, 270 pounds and considered a developmental pass-rushing threat.

The Saints must make decisions on the two roster spots by Saturday but are not allowed to release Ninkovich or George.

A Saints official said Friday night the team was in a "tough spot" but did not disclose the options they are weighing. New Orleans plays host to a key NFC South game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

A team source says third-string quarterback Joey Harrington could be released and McAllister's status is under scrutiny because he has slipped to third-string behind Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas at running back.

Chris Mortensen is a senior NFL analyst for ESPN.