Linebacker Parys Haralson departed San Francisco 49ers headquarters Monday night after saying his goodbyes before the team began a late practice, acknowledging that he had been traded while providing no further details.
"I'm outta here," he said.
Multiple outlets reported Haralson had been traded to the Saints. Haralson's agent, Sean Kiernan, didn't respond to multiple messages left by The Associated Press.
Haralson said while walking to the parking lot, "I want to let them announce it," pointing upstairs to the team's front office.
He offered handshakes and hugs throughout the locker room, changed out of 49ers gear and into shorts and a T-shirt, then left the facility. He told teammates he would fly out first thing in the morning to join his new team.
The NFC champion Niners have depth at linebacker and Haralson was in a reserve role while beginning a comeback season after missing all of last year's Super Bowl run with a torn left triceps.
New Orleans' injured defense is in desperate need of an outside linebacker in Rob Ryan's new 3-4 scheme.
San Francisco plays at New Orleans in Week 11 on Nov. 17, and 49ers running back Frank Gore told Haralson, "When we play y'all, be easy on me."
The 29-year-old Haralson was a 16-game starter on the 2011 defense that ranked No. 1 stopping the run. A seven-year veteran, Haralson has 145 career tackles and 21½ sacks in 86 games.
Saints outside linebacker Will Smith will be sidelined for the season with a knee injury, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.
Fellow outside linebacker Victor Butler also is recovering from knee surgery that will sideline him most or all of the season.
AP Sports Writer Brett Martel in New Orleans contributed to this story.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org