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News » New Orleans Saints Notes, Quotes 2009-02-24

New Orleans Saints Notes, Quotes 2009-02-24

New Orleans Saints Notes, Quotes 2009-02-24
--The deadline to name players as franchise or transition free agents came and went Thursday with the Saints declining to use either tag.

It was the first time in three years the Saints didn't use the franchise tag as they applied it to defensive ends Charles Grant and Will Smith in 2007 and '08, respectively, before signing each to long-term deals.

This time, the plan is to sign their two starters who can become unrestricted free agents next week -- middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma and right tackle Jon Stinchcomb -- to long-term contracts without using the franchise tag.

About the only thing that was known Thursday, however, was that Vilma won't be re-signed before the free agency signing period begins on Feb. 27. If re-signed before then, the Saints would owe the New York Jets a second-round draft pick instead of a third-rounder as part of the trade that brought Vilma to the Saints last off-season.

That would complicate matters since the Saints agreed to send their second-round pick to the New York Giants as part of the Jeremy Shockey trade. If the second-round pick isn't there, the Saints would owe the Giants a first-rounder instead. But that won't happen.

--The Saints last week added linebacker Dan Morgan to the roster after he was reinstated by the NFL, just nine months after he retired following a series of concussions and leg injuries that derailed his once-promising career.

The 30-year-old Morgan, a former Pro Bowl pick who played with the Carolina Panthers from 2001-07, will join the Saints when their off-season conditioning program begins in late March. He is expected to compete for a job at weak-side linebacker.

Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis said the one-year contract Morgan signed with the Saints after being released by the Panthers will be in place for the 2009 season.

The Saints signed Morgan to a low-risk, incentive-laden deal after playing four games with Carolina in 2006 and '07. But he retired just two months later because his rehab wasn't progressing as quickly as he hoped and because his wife was expecting their third child.

Morgan said he's been working out ever since, doing a lot of long-distance running, and he felt better as the year went on.

"From talking to Mickey Loomis, I feel like they're really excited to have me back," Morgan told The Associated Press. "I sense they know I had the itch to come back. They welcomed me back, and I'm grateful they're giving me another opportunity."

--Four Saints players are among the 95 players who have enrolled in the 2009 NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program, which will begin next week at Harvard, Northwestern University, Stanford and Penn.

The program is part of an ongoing NFL-NFLPA initiative to assist players in preparing for their post-playing careers. Since the program's 2005 inception, 407 players have participated in sessions at the four business schools.

Cornerback Leigh Torrence will be the first to return to school as he's set to enroll in the Harvard Business School for a pair of sessions scheduled for Feb. 22-25 and April 5-8.

Quarterback Drew Brees will attend the Stanford Graduate School of Business from March 1-4 and defensive end Rob Ninkovich will attend classes at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management the same dates.

Guard Jamar Nesbit will return to school for two sessions at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania from March 1-4 and March 30-April 1.

"These programs are invaluable for players, and a great opportunity for all of us to develop our skills outside football," said Brees, who previously went to sessions at the Wharton School. "Just participating and being exposed to all the knowledge and resources available at these universities is a rewarding experience."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "They (players like Deuce McAllister) don't come around too often. He'll always be welcome in this building and considered a huge part of the history of this organization -- and arguably the best player in this organization's history." -- Saints coach Sean Payton, on the release of eight-year veteran Deuce McAllister.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 24, 2009

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Aaron Halterman Name: Aaron Halterman
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