METAIRIE, La. - Hobbled and disenchanted, Chris McAlister wasn't sure he wanted to play in the NFL any more.
Suddenly, the 10-year veteran cornerback and former Wildcat has been snapped up by the New Orleans Saints - one of only two remaining unbeaten teams in the NFL - and he's glad to be back in pads again.
"Earlier in the off-season I wasn't ready or (didn't) have the mindset to come back and play football," McAlister said Wednesday, his first day with the club. "For it to take as long as it did, I'm happy it happened before I had no other opportunity."
At 32, McAlister was bitter about being cut by Baltimore, the only team for which he'd played during a highlight-filled career that included three Pro Bowl invitations, a victory in the 2001 Super Bowl and a famous 107-yard touchdown return of a missed field goal.
"He's a veteran player that understands defense and is someone that we think can come in and help us," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "He worked out yesterday and did a good job."
McAlister injured the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the middle of the 2007 season, but tried to play through it. He wound up playing in only eight games two seasons ago and six games last season before having season-ending surgery last November.
In February, while undergoing rehab, he was released by the Ravens. In June, he needed arthroscopic surgery to clean up debris in the same knee and he remained unsure about whether he wanted to attempt a comeback until the preseason rolled around.
"It was a bitter divorce in Baltimore, the way I was no longer a part of the club and for my first time in 10 years, didn't have any place to call home," McAlister said.
Dolphins' Brown out for rest of season
MIAMI - Ronnie Brown's season is over for the Miami Dolphins.
Miami's leading rusher was placed on injured reserve Wednesday because of a foot injury - his second season-ending injury in three years.
Brown hurt his right foot in Sunday's victory over Tampa Bay. The Dolphins hoped he might be able to return this season, but made the roster move after he was examined by a specialist.
To replace Brown on the active roster, the Dolphins signed safety Nate Ness from the team's practice squad.
The former Wildcat Ness spent time this preseason with the Browns, Jets and Seahawks.
• Cleveland quarterback Brady Quinn has been fined by the NFL for his low hit on Baltimore's Terrell Suggs.
After throwing an interception in Monday night's 16-0 loss to the Ravens, Quinn dived at Suggs' knees while trying to bring down cornerback Chris Carr, who had picked him off. Suggs had to leave the game and could miss significant playing time.
• The Oakland Raiders benched former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell on Wednesday, handing the starting job to journeyman Bruce Gradkowski for the foreseeable future.
Coach Tom Cable made the announcement of the change following practice as the Raiders (2-7) prepare to play Cincinnati on Sunday. Cable said this was not a temporary move.