Andy Dalton celebrating getting his luggage back in 2016.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston did not practice Thursday with an ongoing back injury. Winston and head coach Dennis Allen had previously stated the quarterback was expected to return to the field Thursday.

Winston’s continued injury absence likely means a field promotion for veteran quarterback Andy Dalton (seen at right above celebrating the return of his luggage after a 2016 saga), who took first-team snaps at practice on Thursday. Dalton will start on Sunday if Winston cannot recover from his injury in time.

The NFL world was quick to react to the probable return of the Red Rifle:

“Is Andy Dalton about to be the second most famous redhead in London?” asked Ian Rapoport.

“Seeing a lot of ‘Are we sure the offense will even look better if Andy Dalton is at QB?'” said Chris Rosvoglou. “At this point, what more does that unit have to lose? The Saints have 9 total turnovers and just 10 first-half points this year.”

John DeShazier reported that Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu has the utmost confidence in Dalton.

“If Andy Dalton ends up starting for the Saints, the London crowd would get a rematch of Dalton v. Cousins, which ended in a 27-27 tie during the 2016 season between the Bengals and Commanders,” mentioned Dustin Baker.

Kevin Seifert reported that tight end Taysom Hill has also taken snaps at quarterback, a position which the Saints have deployed him before.

The Cincinnati Bengals originally drafted Dalton with the 35th overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. Dalton last appeared in action for the Chicago Bears in 2011, backing-up first-round pick Justin Fields. He signed a one-year contract in March.

If Dalton makes the start, he will likely do so without No. 1 wide receiver Michael Thomas, who also missed practice Thursday.

Dalton’s Saints host the Minnesota Vikings in NFC play on Sunday in London.

[Nick Underhill on Twitter; photo via Andy Dalton on Twitter]