Deuce McAllister is back with the Saints.

McAllister, who was released after last season, was re-signed today in time for the Saints' playoff run. Although he is not expected to play in tomorrow night's game against the Cardinals, McAllister is expected to be introduced to a huge ovation before a New Orleans crowd that has come to adore the gritty running back.

"Deuce McAllister has always embodied the spirit of the New Orleans Saints and the city of New Orleans," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "We're excited to have him back with the team and to have him lead us out on to the field (Saturday)."

McAllister has rushed for 6,096 career yards. His 55 total touchdowns and 49 rushing TDs also are club records.

He tore anterior cruciate ligaments in both knees, first his right one in 2005 and then the left in 2007. He's needed minor cleanup operations since and played hurt throughout the 2008 season, having fluid drained from his left knee on a routine basis.

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Since the Saints released him last February, he has been working out at a sports medicine institute run by orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Gulf Breeze, Fla., and on his own in his hometown of Jackson, Miss.

McAllister said when the Saints released him last winter that he thought he'd have at least three more good seasons in him, but as this season wore on it did not appear any team was going to give him a chance. Then a roster spot opened in New Orleans this week when reserve defensive tackle Rodney Leisle hurt his knee and was placed on injured reserve Friday.

"I'm speechless," McAllister said. "I don't know that there are words to describe this feeling. I do know that we have some unfinished business that we started a few years ago and we want to finish the deal."

McAllister, a first-round draft choice out of Mississippi in 2001, was a big part of the Saints' last playoff team, rushing for 1,057 yards in 2006. That was the last time the Saints had a 1,000-yard rusher.

He rushed for 143 yards and a touchdown when the Saints beat Philadelphia in the divisional round of the playoffs that season, also the club's last playoff win.