Sheldon Rankins is set to become a free agent in just a few short weeks, and he joined SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday with hosts Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan to discuss what it's going to be like to be a free agent and reflect on his time with the Saints.
"It's been an awesome five years with that organization. Top notch in every way. They've done nothing but embrace me as a player, as a person. If that's the way it goes, that I'm not there anymore, it'll definitely be different."
Rankins talked about the relationships built over the past five seasons, as well as the ups and downs and battles going to war with his teammates. He was complimentary of Dennis Allen and being a part of building the defense when he first arrived in 2016.
Rankins said, "When I first got there, to be completely honest, we were a laughing stock. People said, 'Well, Drew's going to have to outscore everybody.' That's pretty much how everybody looked at us."
The former first-rounder was a big part of changing the landscape of the defense, being selected as the team's 12th overall pick from the 2016 draft. Injuries certainly played into his time with the team, but some of that was due to Haglund's deformity, a bony enlargement on the back of the heel that led to him tearing both Achilles in subsequent seasons. However, that is behind him.
"I feel good about where I'm at going into this offseason of being able to tap back in to who I know am as a player," Rankins said.
Rankins said the past season the left Achilles that was ruptured was all of the way there, but the right Achilles was something he was still having to recover from and hadn't been able to feel like himself again up until now.
"I legit wake up and feel like me again. I can run around and have that bounce in my step that I know I used to have. Going into free agency no matter where I end up, you can cut that 2018 tape on and see that's the guy they're getting."
"I think some teams will want to get me in just to get their own look, their own eyes on things, their own hands on things. At the same time, the Saints organization can attest to the fact of how my recovery went and how strong my lower body is and how I had no issues with it (Haglund's deformity) since."
Rankins said that this will all be new for him and that he's embracing things as they come, ultimately being grateful for wherever he ends up.