Reports: Saints' Nick Fairley being tested for heart condition

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/nor/" data-ylk="slk:New Orleans Saints">New Orleans Saints</a> defensive tackle <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/24800/" data-ylk="slk:Nick Fairley">Nick Fairley</a> could have a concerning heart condition. (AP)
New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Nick Fairley could have a concerning heart condition. (AP)

The New Orleans Saints are concerned about the health of defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who is being tested for a possible heart condition, according to multiple reports.

Fairley has not been present at the team’s first two series of voluntary offseason practices, and a Fox Sports report indicates that it’s related to a heart condition that could threaten his career.

Fairley’s agent, Brian Overstreet, seemed to downplay his client’s condition to “He’s good. Just doing his own thing.” However, the website also indicated that Fairley met with a cardiologist last month and that an unnamed member of the Saints’ staff member said the team was aware Fairley was dealing with a medical concern.

The Saints signed Fairley to a four-year, $28 million extension this offseason after a fine 2016 season, with 6.5 sacks, nine tackles for losses and 22 QB hits.

Fairley, 29, was a first-round pick (13th overall) of the Detroit Lions in the 2011 NFL draft. It was believed that a pre-draft test indicated some concern about his heart but that it wasn’t worrisome enough to keep him from being a high pick. He spent his first four up-and-down seasons with the Lions and also played for the St. Louis Rams before joining the Saints prior to last season.

The Saints don’t have a lot of depth at defensive tackle beyond Fairley, with Sheldon Rankins (coming off an injury-shortened rookie season), Tyeler Davison and David Onyemata.

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