Alvin Kamara denies absence was about contract talks

Saints running back Alvin Kamara didn’t want to say too much about his contract — or the lack thereof — but he did have something to get off his chest.

Via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com, Kamara insisted that his recent absences from practices had nothing to do with any feelings about the lack of a contract extension, as he prepares to enter the final year of his rookie deal.

“I ain’t never held out in my life,” he said. “I came to the building every day. That’s all I’ve got to say.”

Kamara acknowledged that he was getting treatment for a minor back issue, and repeatedly mentioned that his focus was on getting ready for this week’s opener against the Buccaneers.

But the talks have failed to reach a resolution, and there were reports the Saints would be willing to trade him, which seems like the outgrowth of a negotiating process that has dragged on.

“No. 1, we would never discuss any type of contract progress with the media,” Saints coach Sean Payton said Monday. “I’m confident that at some point we’ll get this done, and we’ll let you know when that happens.”

Kamara’s been a versatile rushing/receiving threat, and a key part of a Saints Offense. But there’s still a big difference between the $16 million a year deal Christian McCaffrey signed, and the $12 million a year neighborhood of recent deals for Joe Mixon and Derrick Henry, which makes pegging his value more difficult.