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'Man, you're on 'SportsCenter': Alvin Kamara's rising star lands him on ESPN set

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Kamara values wisdom from his Liberian mother (1:55)

Saints RB Alvin Kamara recalls growing up in a Liberian-American household and his transition from college football to the NFL. (1:55)

METAIRIE, La. -- It would be pretty hard for New Orleans Saints rookie running back Alvin Kamara to get star-struck at this point.

Kamara has already been playing -- and thriving -- alongside megastars like Drew Brees, Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram. And the dynamic runner/receiver has been producing weekly highlights, like his 38-yard catch in Week 2, his 25-yard touchdown run in Week 3 and his 12-yard touchdown catch in Week 3.

But Kamara admitted that the "wow factor" increased a bit Thursday when he went through the ESPN "car wash" as a guest on several TV and radio shows during his first NFL bye week.

"I mean, like, you grow up watching 'SportsCenter', and I'm sitting on set with everyone. So it's definitely cool," said Kamara, who jumped at the chance when his business people told him about offers he received from ESPN and at least one other outlet this week. "My phone is going crazy. All my friends and family are like, 'Man, you're on 'SportsCenter'. I'm watching you on 'SportsCenter'.

"It's different from some highlights on 'SportsCenter'. That's cool, too. But actually sitting on 'SportsCenter' segments is cool."

Kamara (who naturally appeared on "The Fantasy Show", among other programs Thursday) has been taking his newfound fame and success in stride.

When asked if he thought he would make an impact this quickly as a third-round draft pick out of Tennessee, Kamara said, he has never really set expectations.

"I never really know how to gauge that," he said. "I always come in, like in a situation when I was going to Alabama (where he began his college career) or going to Tennessee, I come in with the mindset of, 'I'm gonna keep my head down, I'm gonna grind, and I'm gonna earn my respect.' And in doing that, the playing will come.

"So I think I've been on pace doing what I said I was gonna do, doing my job, getting better every day. And that's the reward, the playing time and the trust that I'm getting."

Kamara said it doesn't bother him that he hasn't been used as an every-down back right away like fellow rookies Kareem Hunt and Dalvin Cook in other NFL cities.

"I'm comfortable. Whatever my role is, that's my role," Kamara said. "I always say, 'I'm a team guy.' That's one thing I believe in. So whatever my role is, that's what it's gonna be. Whatever the coaches ask me to do, that's what I'm gonna do. ...

"It's definitely a blessing, just being able to have a role with two guys that are solidified in this league. I'm happy that I've been able to carve out kind of my niche thus far into the season. I know my role is gonna keep getting bigger and bigger, I just gotta keep learning from Drew and Adrian and Mark."

That "niche" involves a heavy dose of pass-catching. Kamara had 10 catches (on 10 targets) for 71 yards and a touchdown in last week's 20-0 win against the Miami Dolphins. He has 20 catches for 147 yards this season, compared to 15 carries for 83 yards.

Kamara still refused to label himself as a "dual threat" or "scatback," though.

"I just always say, 'I'm a running back that catches the ball very good,'" laughed Kamara, who has repeated that line all summer.

Kamara was asked on multiple appearances Thursday about what the dynamic is like inside the overcrowded Saints running back room. And he consistently said that it's "good energy" and "love" and "no animosity."

"I got two older guys, two wise, talented guys who are basically showing me the way. All I gotta do is come in and keep my ears open and soak up as much as I can. They help me out a lot, and I'm just grateful to be in that situation," said Kamara, who said he doesn't really get hazed -- but he does have to bring the other running backs meals before road trips.

He said that can get tricky because Peterson "does this 80-20 vegan thing" and will order Chipotle with tofu, for example. And he said Ingram is always hungry.

Kamara said the group is also competitive. He pointed out that he broke Peterson's high jump record during a "SportsScience" segment, so they had a group high jump competition in training camp -- seeing who could jump over the highest stack of pads.

It ended in a tie between Kamara and Peterson when the horn blew and they had to move on to another segment of practice.

"We'll pick it up. (But for now) I hold the title," Kamara said. "I'm good. I beat AD. I beat his "SportsScience" record. Until he reclaims the throne, I'll say I win."