As promised, Saints running back Mark Ingram flashed Bryant's trademark "X" symbol with his arms in the end zone after scoring on a 28-yard screen pass in the second quarter in Sunday's 51-14 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"We were all excited about him being a part of our team," Ingram said after the game. "Great playmaker, good dude, and we all hated to see what happened on Friday. So we just wanted to let him know he's still part of us, and we're holding him down."
The "X" still going up bro!! 🙅🏾♂️🙅🏾♂️🙅🏾♂️ https://t.co/dVpFJrE62w— Mark Ingram II (@MarkIngram22) November 9, 2018
Running back Alvin Kamara and wide receiver Michael Thomas also performed the Bryant celebration after second-quarter touchdowns. A number of Saints defenders joined in as well after safety Marcus Williams intercepted a pass by Andy Dalton.
"[Bryant] came in, he wanted to play his role and make plays and just be a part," Kamara said. "So we just wanted to show him some love. It's unfortunate anytime anybody gets hurt. You don't ever want to see that -- especially a player of his caliber. And he didn't even get to do what he wanted to do with us. So just a little love to him."
Bryant suffered a torn Achilles tendon in practice Friday, just two days after agreeing to a one-year contract with the Saints. The former Dallas Cowboys star was placed on injured reserve Saturday, ending his 2018 season before it even began, and a doctor told ESPN's Adam Schefter that Bryant faces a "tough rehabilitation."
"Two days is not a lot of time, and yet there's a lot of respect," coach Sean Payton said after the game. "It's always difficult when you see an injury like that happen, as unusual as it was. More than anything, I'm sure it's out of respect."
Thomas agreed with his coach's assessment.
"Never judge a book by its cover, that's all we'll say," he said. "When he came to our locker room, he was a hundred percent committed to us. We saw a sense of urgency from the first day. ... When you have a guy like that, you know we sacrifice so much for this game, you want to be there and support him in hard times and let him know we have his back. It's not phony or fake or anything. We want to support him the whole way. He's one of us."
Bryant took to Twitter to show his appreciation for Ingram's celebration and retweeted a number of photos of Saints players making the sign.
Thomas' second touchdown of the day also marked the 509th TD pass of Drew Brees' career, moving him one ahead of Brett Favre for second all time. Peyton Manning holds the NFL record with 539 career touchdown passes.