Cameron Meredith, new Saints receiver, happy to reunite with position coach Curtis Johnson
Cameron Meredith quickly grew into an impact wide receiver for the Chicago Bears with Curtis Johnson as his position coach.
So, naturally, the 25-year-old Meredith is excited to reunite with Johnson as his position coach for the New Orleans Saints.
"C.J. was a big part of my success in Chicago," Meredith said Friday (April 13) in a teleconference with local reporters. "And getting to rejoin him in New Orleans... (we'll) get back right were we left off."
Meredith (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) joined the Bears as an undrafted free agent out of Illinois State in 2015. In 2016, he played 14 games and started 10, all the while catching 66 passes for 888 yards and four touchdowns.
He appeared primed for another solid season in 2017 before a significant knee injury caused him to miss the entire season.
The Saints signed Meredith to a restricted free agent offer sheet last week worth a reported $9.6 million over two years with $5.4 million guaranteed. The Bears declined to match that offer before a 3 p.m. Wednesday deadline, which was when Meredith officially joined the Saints.
"I'm just excited for the process to begin," Meredith said. "I'm excited to get out to New Orleans meet the people see the city. And I'm excited to get the process rolling."
Meredith said he hoped the Bears would match the offer to keep him close to home.
"It was my home city so of course you would be a little disappointed but at the end of the day, it's a business," Meredith said. "First time dealing with that. ... I signed that agreement with the Saints knowing it was a possibility. So I was expecting to be a Saint but if the Bears had matched that wouldn't have been bad either."
Meredith said he hoped to be ready for the start of training camp in July.
"It's coming along," he said about his knee. "I haven't had any setbacks along the recovery process. I'm gaining strength day-by-day. I'm excited to see how soon I can get back.
"The main objective for me is to do as much as I can with the trainers to get ready for the season but my goal is to try and get back for training camp."
Meredith said he looked forward to finding his role in the Saints offense. He said the Saints offense was one of the reasons he thought New Orleans was a good fit for him.
It also helps to have a familiar face in Johnson. Johnson coached Saints wideouts from 2006 to 2011 before he coached the Tulane football team for four seasons and coached Bears wideouts for one, in 2016. He returned to the Saints in 2017.
"It's a place where opportunity is equal to everyone and I just feel like coach (Sean) Payton and the Saints had a plan for me coming in and they made that pretty clear," Meredith said. "So I'm excited to be apart of the offense and do what I can."