Last Modified: Thursday, September 26, 2013 8:48 PM
METAIRIE (AP) — Running back Mark Ingram says he’s “happy” to be part of the unbeaten Saints, even if the running game has struggled and his role has diminished because of an injured toe on his right foot.
Although Ingram did not practice Thursday, he made himself available to media in the locker room at team headquarters and denied a CBSSports.com report that he could request a trade.
The information in the report “never came from me,” Ingram said. “I don’t know who that came from. But I love New Orleans. It’s home to me. I love this organization, love my teammates, love my coaches. I’m happy here. And we’re 3-0. So I’m excited about that.”
Ingram said the only opinions he cares about are those of Saints personnel, who know he much he cares about the organization and how hard he works to help the team.
“Everybody’s entitled to their opinion. It doesn’t bother me. I come out every day, work my butt off to be the best person I can be, the best player I can be for this team to help us go out there and have success,” Ingram said. “I do that every single day. And as long as my teammates, my coaches and everybody in this organization knows that, that’s all that matters to me.”
After playing in New Orleans’ opening two games and missing last weekend’s game, Ingram is averaging 1.8 yards per carry. He has carried 17 times for 31 yards and no touchdowns, and his longest run went for 8 yards.
However, the former Heisman Trophy winner at Alabama and 2011 first-round draft choice is by no means the only Saints back having trouble finding running room.
New Orleans ranks 24th in the NFL in yards rushing (85.7 per game), and without Ingram in the lineup last weekend against Arizona, the Saints rushed for minus-6 yards in the first half.
Ingram declined to discuss specifics about his injury, saying only that he hoped to return to the field as soon as possible for New Orleans, which hosts Miami on Monday night.
“We just want to be productive in the run game. We want to get it going so we can be that much more explosive on offense,” Ingram said. “I’m just looking forward to getting back out there and getting the run game going.”