The New Orleans Saints had just ended their season the day before, an abrupt ending after the infamous no-call in the NFC championship game against the Los Angeles Rams.

J.T. Barrett, like the rest of his teammates, cleaned out his locker that day in preparation for the offseason.

For Barrett, this was really nothing new.

The fourth-string quarterback was in and out of the Saints' locker room throughout his rookie season.

It happened so often, in fact, that he lost count of just how many times his name appeared on the waiver wire as he yo-yoed back and forth.

One week he was on the practice squad.

The next week he wasn't.

"I believe it was about 12 or 13 times," Barrett said.

It was actually 12.

"It was just different," Barrett said in January about the seesaw experience. "I don't know how to explain it. It was one of those unique things. It was just understanding that it wasn't a place for me at the time and just being able to work through that and still be able to learn and grow from that. I feel like I did grow mentally. It was a blessing to be able to do that."

Now Barrett is back for his second season.

He got a chance to be the main quarterback during the Saints' rookie minicamp last weekend. That was quite different than during the season, when he'd get a few leftover crumbs after Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill got most of the snaps in practice.

"This is good for me to get some reps under my belt," Barrett said. "Being the fourth quarterback last year, I didn't get the opportunity for those things. So for me, this is just about me getting reps, footwork and all the timing and stuff down."

Saints rookie center Erik McCoy embracing new team, city from crawfish étouffée to wedding planning

Barrett, who went undrafted in 2018 before the Saints signed him, played some in the preseason. He completed 6 of 11 passes for 63 yards and threw one interception. He ran for a touchdown in a preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals but hasn't thrown a touchdown as a pro. His last touchdown pass came in December 2017 in Ohio State's 27-21 victory over Wisconsin in the Big 10 championship game.

And though his number of snaps this season likely won't increase by much because Brees, Bridgewater and Hill are all back, he still relishes the opportunity he has being a part of one of the NFL's most prolific offenses. There were times last season when Barrett contemplated what it would be like to be on another team with more opportunities, but he appreciates the one he has and the lessons that have come with it. There was one lesson in particular.

"I would say patience," Barrett said. "Just being able to be patient, yet still finding ways to grow. I wasn't always out there on the field all the time at practice. But there were weeks when I was, and I tried to take advantage of that time when I was out there."

Many Saints fans probably forget that Barrett is even on the roster. He isn't rewriting the NFL record books like Brees or doing the Bike Life dance to the song Choppa Style in the locker room like Bridgewater or being used all over the field like Hill. But he's finding his place and not forgotten by his coach.

"Our QB room last year was one of the better rooms that we’ve had here," Sean Payton said in March. "When you go to Drew and then you go to Teddy and Taysom and even J.T. Barrett."

Barrett said he's learned plenty from the three guys whose lockers are beside his.

"With Drew, the first thing that comes to mind is how he carries himself each and every day," Barrett said. "Especially when things go bad. Just watching Drew on game day when things aren't going well and how he interacts with the other people on the team and how he comes back from that."

From Bridgewater, he learned how to accept the role of being a backup. Bridgewater was once a starter in the league.

'Swag' is 'just a Florida thing,' says Saints play-making rookie Chauncey Gardner-Johnson

"And then Taysom is is just selfless," Barrett said. "He's the type of person you want to be around each and every day. There is so much that comes into playing quarterback. For Taysom to be able to learn and be valuable at other positions is selfless and speaks for who he is."

Now Barrett is patiently waiting his turn, looking to find his niche after a 2018 season being juggled on and off the roster as the team made room for other players.

"It's good just being able to learn and grow," Barrett said. "Just trying to get better every week."