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Archive for May, 2009

May

27

NFLPA files notice of appeal in StarCaps case involving Charles Grant, Will Smith, Deuce McAllister and two Minnesota Vikings players

NFLPA files notice of appeal in StarCaps case involving Charles Grant, Will Smith, Deuce McAllister and two Minnesota Vikings players

Posted by The Associated Press May 27, 2009 3:45PM

MINNEAPOLIS — The NFL Players Association plans to appeal a judge’s ruling in the case of five players facing suspensions over positive drug tests.

The NFLPA is appealing the ruling against Deuce McAllister, Will Smith and Charles Grant.

The union filed its notice of appeal Wednesday with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The players association wants the appeals court to reconsider a judge’s dismissal last week of a lawsuit filed by the union on behalf of Vikings star defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams, and New Orleans Saints’ Charles Grant and Will Smith, and Deuce McAllister, the Saints’ career rushing leader, who was released by New Orleans after last season but hopes to find another team for the upcoming season.

U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson on Friday threw out most claims by Kevin Williams and Pat Williams, who are not related, and all claims involving the three Saints players.

This is the second appeal arising from that order. On Tuesday, the NFL filed notice that it will appeal the portion of Magnuson’s order that remanded the two remaining claims by Kevin Williams and Pat Williams to state court because they involve Minnesota laws. The league is hoping to get those two claims dismissed, too.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith issued a statement saying that the union intends to appeal Magnuson’s ruling.

In their separate lawsuits, the union and Kevin Williams and Pat Williams said NFL officials knew a weight-loss supplement the five players took called StarCaps contained the banned diuretic bumetanide, even though it wasn’t listed on the label. They said the league should have notified players and federal regulators.

The NFL bans bumetanide because it can be used as a masking agent for steroids. The five players were not accused of taking steroids.

The players are seeking to have their four-game suspensions overturned. An injunction allowing them to continue playing remains in place.

In his ruling on Friday, Magnuson said the NFL’s policy is clear: Players are responsible for what they put in their bodies, and inadvertently ingesting a banned substance is not an excuse.

May

23

Federal judge rules against suspended New Orleans Saints players Will Smith, Charles Grant and former Saint Deuce McAllister; suspensions will be upheld

Federal judge rules against suspended New Orleans Saints players Will Smith, Charles Grant and former Saint Deuce McAllister; suspensions will be upheld

Posted by Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune May 23, 2009 12:13AM

Saints defensive ends Will Smith and Charles Grant and former Saints tailback Deuce McAllister will have to serve their four-game suspensions at the start of the 2009 season after a federal judge threw out their lawsuit against the NFL late Friday in Minnesota.

According to the Associated Press, Judge Paul Magnuson dismissed the suit, which was filed by the NFL Players Association on behalf of the three Saints players and Minnesota Vikings defensive tackles Pat Williams and Kevin Williams last December. He remanded two separate claims brought on by the Williamses to state court in Minnesota.
All five players were suspended after testing positive for a banned diuretic, bumetanide, last summer. But the suspensions were put on hold pending the outcome of the legal process.

A trial date had been set for June 15, but Magnuson made a summary judgment after reviewing all of the pretrial motions and hearing arguments from both sides last week.

“The (league’s) policy is unequivocal: players are responsible for what is in their bodies, and inadvertent ingestion of a banned substance will not excuse a positive test result,” Magnuson wrote in his decision, according to the Associated Press.

All five players claimed that the bumetanide was an unlisted ingredient in an over-the-counter weight loss product called StarCaps. Further, they argued that the NFL knew StarCaps was a tainted product but failed to properly warn players, and that the league-appointed arbitrator who ruled on their suspensions, NFL attorney Jeffrey Pash, had a conflict of interest.

Although Magnuson suggested that the NFL’s decision to not specifically warn the players about StarCaps was “baffling,” he said it was not the league’s responsibility to do so.

“NFL players are adults,” Magnuson wrote. “They are warned repeatedly not to take dietary supplements and that such supplements may cause a positive test for a banned substance.”

None of the players, nor NFLPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler was reached for comment Friday night. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the AP: “The decision strongly supports the NFL program on performance enhancing substances that protects the health and safety of NFL players and the integrity of our game.”

The Saints have been preparing for the possibility of losing Smith and Grant to start the season. They added veteran defensive end Paul Spicer early in free agency and recently added defensive end Anthony Hargrove to a mix that already includes Bobby McCray, Jeff Charleston and Rob Ninkovich.

McAllister, who was released by the Saints in late February, still has not signed with another team.

May

19

New Orleans Saints fans helped make Super Bowl fantasy a reality

Posted by Jeff Duncan, The Times-Picayune May 19, 2009 9:08AM


New Orleans Saints fans couldn’t wait for the Superdome to re-open in 2006.

A lot of people will take credit for landing Super Bowl XLVII and rightfully so.

It takes a village to land one of these things and New Orleans leaned on an impressive team of leaders to secure the city’s 10th Super Bowl.

There must be XLVII people who played key roles along the way.

Saints Owner Tom Benson tirelessly lobbied fellow owners.

Saints execs Rita Benson LeBlanc, Dennis Lauscha and Ben Hales worked their contacts behind the scenes.

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Doug Thornton, Ron Forman and Gov. Bobby Jindal hammered out a fair and equitable long-term lease agreement with the team under intense pressure.

Jay Cicero, Sam Joffray and the rest of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation team worked diligently for months to assemble the city’s impressive bid package.

Then there are scores of business, civic and team officials who participated behind the scenes.

All were key pieces in this multi-million-dollar puzzle.

But the real credit belongs to a group that wasn’t at the dais in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. today:

The fans and people of New Orleans.

Without you, this day never dawns.

You took the opening kickoff and put New Orleans in position to score.

If not for the overwhelming show of support in those dark, dreary days, weeks, and months after Hurricane Katrina, there would be no New Orleans Saints, no refurbished Superdome and damn sure no 2013 Super Bowl.

In the face of long odds during one of the most desperate times in the long history of this great city, New Orleanians did not waver. Instead, you rose up, stepped up and opened up your pocket books. When everyone from FEMA to insurance reps to bill collectors was trying to dip their hands into your threadbare pockets, you gave.

Because you refused to let another town loot your NFL team.

Since Katrina ravaged the region four years ago, the Saints have sold out all 25 regular-season and postseason games in the Superdome. Every luxury suite has been sold. The waiting list for season tickets, team officials say, now numbers five figures. All this despite playing in a market that was one of the smallest and poorest in the NFL before Katrina.

That support buoyed the Saints franchise and eliminated the uncertainty about the market’s ability to support an NFL team. It convinced state officials to invest in improvements to the Superdome and eliminated Benson’s seemingly eternal wanderlust. Simultaneously, it renewed the NFL’s confidence in New Orleans and emboldened local business leaders to again market the Crescent City as big-event sports town.

Once we drained the water from our streets, removed the debris and got those wheels turning in the right direction again, this day was inevitable.

May

14

No ruling made today in New Orleans Saints players’ case against NFL

No ruling made today in New Orleans Saints players’ case against NFL

Posted by Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune May 14, 2009 1:06PM

No ruling was made today in the federal court case involving Saints players Will Smith, Charles Grant, former Saints Deuce McAllister and Minnesota Vikings players Pat Williams and Kevin Williams, according to reports out of Minnesota.

U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson heard two-and-a-half hours of arguments from both the players’ attorneys and NFL attorneys during pre-trial hearings, but he did not make any immediate decisions.

A trial has been set for June 15 in St. Paul, Minn., but both sides were seeking a summary judgment from Magnuson during today’s arguments. Magnuson did not give a timetable when he will make a decision but said it will be relatively soon, according to reports.
The five players are seeking to overturn four-game suspensions which were handed down by the NFL last year after the players tested positive for a banned diuretic.

The NFL Players Association filed a federal lawsuit on the players’ behalf in December after the NFL denied their appeals.

May

14

Gus Kattengell…. gone from WWL ?????

Saints Radio Network

WWL (870 AM/105.3 FM) is the flagship station of the Saints Radio Network, and  extends the weekly action of Saints football throughout the Gulf South. Jim Henderson handles the play-by-play duties, former Saint running back and scout Hokie Gajan provides color commentary and Gus Kattengell reports from the sidelines for all contests. Former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert hosts the pregame coverage, does halftime commentary and hosts “The Point After” at the conclusion of each Saints game. 

A post from Gus’s facebook page….

Gus Kattengell just got told I don’t have a job anymore

10:31am

Looks like a lot of people are supporting Gus, please let the people know if you loved the work he did.

As one of his friends said..

We all should call and voice our opinion:

Switch Board – 504-593-6376

May

04

New Orleans Saints sign 10 undrafted rookie free agents

New Orleans Saints sign 10 undrafted rookie free agents

Posted by By Brian Allee-Walsh, The Times-Picayune May 04, 2009 7:13PM

Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis today released a list of 10 undrafted rookie free agents who have signed and will participate in rookie minicamp Thursday through Sunday at the team’s training facility in Metairie.

They are Wisconsin linebacker Jonathan Casillas, UCLA quarterback Patrick Cowan, Texas guard Cedric Dockery, Stanford center Alex Fletcher, Texas A&M cornerback Danny Gorrer, Georgia wide receiver Kenneth Harris, Wisconsin running back P.J. Hill, Portland State cornerback Reggie Jones, Clark-Atlanta tackle Sam McNaulty and Ole Miss defensive end Jermey Parnell.

All but McNaulty and Parnell had been previously reported by The T-P as signing with the team. Contrary to published reports, Western Illinois running back Herb Donaldson did not sign with the team.

Last week, Donaldson, 5 feet 10, 222 pounds, said he planned to sign with the Saints. He finished as the the school’s all-time leading rusher with 4,746 yards and 50 touchdowns.

Here are thumbnails on the 10 players provided by team officials:

• LB Jonathan Casillas, Wisconsin (6-2, 226): Casillas was a three-year starter at Wisconsin, opening 36 of the 48 career games he played for the Badgers. Elected a captain for his final two seasons in Madison, the native of New Brunswick, N.J. posted career stats of 251 tackles, 28 tackles for loss, four sacks, two interceptions, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. A three-time honorable mention All-Big selection, he also blocked three punts, one of which he recovered for a touchdown.

• QB Patrick Cowan, UCLA (6-4, 218): A two-year starter under center for the Bruins, Cowan’s collegiate career was cut short when he tore the ACL in his left knee late in spring practice prior to his senior season, the same knee that limited him to five games as a junior in 2007. A right-handed thrower hailing from Surrey, British Columbia, he took over as the starter as a sophomore and posted career numbers of 217 completions on 411 attempts for 2,478 yards with 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 19 games, 13 of them starts.

• G Cedric Dockery, Texas (6-4, 315): Dockery was a three-year starter at right guard for the Longhorns, opening 30 of his 41 career games including all 13 in his senior year of 2008. The native of Garland, Texas earned all-conference honors twice, being named second-team All-Big XII as a senior after getting honorable mention in his junior season. Dockery has good bloodlines, as he is the younger brother of Washington Redskins guard Derrick Dockery.

• C Alex Fletcher, Stanford (6-3, 296): A rare four-year starter at Stanford, Fletcher was in the starting lineup for all 44 of his career games for the Cardinal from the start of his redshirt freshman season in 2005. A versatile interior lineman, the Old Brookville, N.Y. native earned second-team all-Pac 10 honors at right guard as a junior and followed up with another second-team all-conference nod playing at center in his senior season. Finished his career with a 32-game consecutive starts streak and totaled 20 starts at right guard and 24 at center.

• CB Danny Gorrer, Texas A&M (6-0, 173): Gorrer was a two-year starter in College Station and split starting duties in his senior season after seeing his junior campaign cut short by a knee injury seven games in. In 42 career games, 24 of them starts, the native of Port Arthur, Texas tallied 141 tackles with two sacks, one interception, 13 passes defensed and two forced fumbles. He posted career-bests in his sophomore season with 52 tackles and an interception.

• WR Kenneth Harris, Georgia (6-3, 212): Harris played in 50 games over four years for the Bulldogs with five starts, catching 41 passes for 689 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The sizable wideout from Cherryville, N.C. had 11 receptions for 116 yards as a senior and caught a touchdown.

• RB P.J. Hill, Wisconsin (5-11, 236): Hill was the Badgers’ featured runner for each of his three campaigns in Madison, joining former Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne as the only backs in UW history to gain more than 1,000 yards in each of their first three seasons. Hill closed his collegiate career with 3,942 rushing yards on 770 carries (5.1 avg.) with 42 touchdowns and added 39 receptions for 358 yards and two more scores. In 37 career games, Hill ran gained 100 yards in 20 of those contests and had a pair of 200-plus yard games. Before forgoing his final year of eligibility, the East Elmhurst, N.Y. native was named honorable mention All-Big 10 for the second straight season to go along with first-team all-conference honors earned as a redshirt freshman in 2006. As a senior, Hill ran for 1,161 yards and 13 touchdowns.

• CB Reggie Jones, Portland State (6-0, 200): A speedy cornerback, Jones played one season at Portland State after transferring from the University of Idaho where he spent three injury-plagued seasons from 2004-06. A former all-state high school cornerback and wideout from Federal Way, Wash., Jones made the most of his lone season with the Vikings, making 38 tackles, notching seven passes defensed and recording four interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.

• T Sam McNaulty, Clark-Atlanta (6-4, 320): The tackle impressed scouts at CAU’s pro day posting a 4.9 40-yard dash time, and tested well in all facets of the workout drawing a high-level of interest from several clubs. The Oakland, Calif., native was a first-team all-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) selection, while being named offensive lineman of the week on four separate occasions. He led an offensive unit that finished third in rushing while also leading the way for the SIAC’s leading rusher. McNaulty was a finalist for “The Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year” award, while also being selected to play in the “East Coast Bowl” collegiate all-star game.

• DE Jermey Parnell, Mississippi (6-8, 245): An athletic defender with size and speed, Parnell returned to the gridiron in 2008 after playing four seasons for the Rebels’ basketball team. Playing organized football for the first time since eighth grade, the Gosnell, Ark. native saw action in five games for Ole Miss and made one tackle.

May

04

Tracy Porter flashed enough promise as a rookie to become one of the vital building blocks in the New Orleans Saints’ rebuilt secondary

by Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune

Sunday May 03, 2009, 10:10 PM

As a rookie last season, Saints cornerback Tracy Porter started the first five games before dislocating his right wrist. He flourished in his limited playing time, finishing with one interception, five pass-defenses and 32 tackles.

The Saints have completely revamped their secondary this offseason, adding five new players in hopes of shoring up their most glaring weakness.

Perhaps the greatest reason for optimism in the embattled position group, though, is a player that’s been in the fold all along — second-year cornerback Tracy Porter.

Porter, 22, is essentially heading into his redshirt-freshman season with the Saints. Although he won a starting job during the preseason last year, he played in just five games before a dislocated right wrist ended his season.

Still, the speedy 5-foot-11, 186-pounder did enough in that brief playing time to mark him as the player to beat in the suddenly-crowded position battle at cornerback.

“Tracy Porter, I like a lot. Not a little — a lot,” Coach Sean Payton said before the Saints added first-round pick and defensive back Malcolm Jenkins in the draft.

Porter, however, isn’t taking anything for granted. He said he’s heading into this summer like a player who’s fighting to get noticed.

“They’re brining in new competition, but every year there’s going to be competition,” Porter said. “I’m definitely going to work hard as if I’m not the starter. I’m going to work hard to show the new defensive coordinator (Gregg Williams) and my position coach (Dennis Allen) that I belong out there on the field.”

Porter, who had one interception, five pass-defenses and 32 tackles last season, said he feels a little bit like a veteran and a rookie at the same time.

He has been in New Orleans for a year, so he’s helping to usher in newcomers like Jenkins, rookie safety Chip Vaughn and free agent additions Jabari Greer, Darren Sharper and Pierson Prioleau.

“But I’m still in that young player category,” Porter said. “I’m still trying to make a name for myself.”

Porter, a native of Port Allen, started to do that last summer after arriving as a second-round draft pick out of Indiana University.

His first NFL training camp got off to a rough start when he suffered a hamstring injury that sidelined him for two weeks. But when he was on the field, his speed and skills were evident, and Payton showed enough faith in Porter to plug him into the starting lineup from Week 1.

Porter immediately had his share of highs and lows.

He was terrific during a season-opening victory against Tampa Bay at the Superdome, hounding the Buccaneers’ receivers all afternoon. Porter then was burned badly in a Week 2 loss at Washington, giving up a 67-yard touchdown pass to receiver Santana Moss in the fourth quarter that allowed the Redskins to come from behind and win.

Porter’s ability to bounce back from that play was impressive. He showed the kind of confidence that cornerbacks need in the NFL — especially rookies — and the kind of confidence that can allow him to bounce back from his lost season.

“Corner is one of those positions where you want to be confident, but not over-confident,” Porter said. “And when you give up a big play, you need to have a short memory.”

Porter played well during the next three weeks — at Denver, home against San Francisco — when he got his first career interception — and home against Minnesota on “Monday Night Football.”

But it was late in a loss to the Vikings when Porter injured his wrist. He was covering receiver Aundrae Allison, who ran a deep route toward the end zone. But as quarterback Gus Frerotte’s pass floated down the field, another Vikings receiver who was running the wrong route, Bernard Berrian, collided with Porter.

To add insult to injury, Berrian caught a touchdown pass in the process, helping to defeat the Saints in another come-from-behind loss.

“It was hard at the beginning,” Porter said of the mental recovery process. “I was down, because I was steadily improving week by week, becoming a better player. It was very frustrating; it was also frustrating to sit at home watching on TV while my teammates were out there competing without me.

“But me, I’ve always believed everything happens for a reason. I don’t know what that reason is. Maybe it was good for me to sit down and learn the game more from watching on the sidelines.”

Porter said the physical recovery took a few months, but he’s now completely healed.

“I’m ready to go,” he said. “If the season would start tomorrow, I’d be ready to play. I’m excited and ready to go.”

Porter also is enthusiastic about the changes the Saints have made to their defense. He likes Williams’ track record and his aggressive style. He said even though Williams told the players that he knew all about them from watching tape, Porter made a point to introduce himself to Williams after the first team meeting “to put a face with the name.”

“I think (Williams’ style) will suit me very well,” Porter said. “I consider myself a versatile player who can adjust and fit any scheme, and if there’s something I don’t know, I’ll take the time to learn it and put in the work.”

With so many new additions — from Williams to Jenkins to Greer to Sharper and Porter himself — he said the Saints have an opportunity to turn a former weakness into a strength.

“We definitely had that opportunity last year, too, but we just had so many injuries,” Porter said. “But we have that opportunity again. If we do what we’re supposed to, this is definitely going to be a secondary to be reckoned with.”

May

03

Is this really news ?? I guess the TP ran out of Nagin stories!

Two Saints players arrested for lewd conduct

by Danny Monteverde, The Times-Picayune

Sunday May 03, 2009, 11:16 AM

Two New Orleans Saints players are in jail after they were booked on charges of obscenity, disturbing the peace by being drunk in public and lewd conduct by urinating in public and exposing themselves early Sunday morning, said Col. John Fortunato, a spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Biren Ealy, left, and Kolo Kapanui

Biren Ealy, 24, and Kolomona Kapanui, 25, were arrested just before 1 a.m. at an apartment complex in Elmwood.

Two women had just pulled up to the Palmetto Creek apartments in the 5100 block of Citrus Boulevard when one of the women saw two men urinating in the parking lot, Fortunato said.

The woman who was the passenger told the men, who appeared to be drunk, to stop. At that point, Ealy allegedly turned around and exposed himself to the woman and started making “lewd” comments, Fortunato said.

A few moments later, Kapanui also turned around, facing the woman driving the car, and started to fondle himself while making comments, as well, police allege.

The women started screaming for help and called 911.

Ealy and Kapanui — a wide receiver and tight end, respectively — were taken to the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center. They are each being held on a $4,250 bond, Fortunato said.

“We are aware of the situation,” Saints spokesman Greg Bensel said in an email. “Our security department is working with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office on this matter. We will have no further comment.”

Both men are on the Saints’ 80-man roster, but neither has appeared in a game with New Orleans.

Ealy, who attended Houston, was picked up by the Saints in January after spending two years with the Tennessee Titans, mostly on the practice squad. He has appeared in four games, with one reception for six yards in his career.

Kapanui, who attended West Texas A&M, was signed to the Saints’ practice squad last season in late November but did not appear in a game. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cleveland Browns last year but was released following the preseason.