Things didn’t always come naturally for Alvin Kamara.
Speaking to reporters this week at New Orleans’ mandatory minicamp, the Saints running back admitted he was a little lost at times during his rookie season in 2017 and it haunted him off the field.
“Everybody said I made it look easy, but sometimes I was out there, and I didn’t know what was going on,” Kamara said, via the Lafayette Daily Advertiser. “I’m always going to act smarter than I am.
“Two-minute drill my rookie year was horrible. That was dreadful. I was going to sleep, and I was like, ‘Man, we got two-minute tomorrow.’ After we got done doing two-minute at practice, I was thinking about the next two-minute practice. So sometimes, I might not know, but I’m going to act like I know. Yeah, you’ve got to fake it to you make it.”
Kamara credits quarterback Drew Brees for not only helping him find his form, but also going to the source and instilling strong study habits while going over the playbook.
“From my first year to now, there were a lot of things I was trying to figure out,” Kamara said. “I took a step back and was like, ‘All right, well, if I want to be the best, then I’ve got to know what the best knows.’ And I think Drew is probably one of the (smartest) — if not the smartest — people playing football right now. I can only get better if I know as much as Drew or try to be on the same page at least as Drew.”
It clearly paid off considering Kamara led the Saints in rushing last season with 883 yards for 14 touchdowns with no fumbles, which earned him his second straight Pro Bowl selection. He also ranked second on the team in receiving with 709 yards and four more scores.
But the third-round pick is hungry for more.
“I’m so anxious to see like, ‘What else?’ You know what I’m saying? What else could I do? Where else could I line up? How else could I be successful? That’s the best part of this profession for me,” Kamara said. “What’s the next step you’re going to take? ‘Ok, he was good last year. How are you going to prove that you are what you are?’
“I don’t feel like a vet. It’s my third year, but it’s been quick. I still feel like I consider myself a younger guy still. But my rookie year, it was more like, ‘Shoot, I hope I don’t mess up.’ Now, I’m smart. I’ll say I’m an A-plus. I’m in the top percentile right now.”
With his 728 yards rushing and 826 yards receiving in 2017, Kamara became the fourth running back in NFL history to run for at least 500 rushing and 500 receiving yards in his first two seasons. He joins Abner Haynes (1960-68), Herschel Walker (1983-97) and Edgerrin James (1999-2009).