New Orleans Saints Notes, Quotes 2009-03-02

--When the Saints return to begin their off-season strength and conditioning program on March 30, several veterans will not be at full speed because of postseason surgeries.

Saints coach Sean Payton said at the NFL Scouting Combine last week that cornerback Mike McKenzie, wide receiver Marques Colston and defensive tackle Brian Young -- who all had knee injuries -- would be monitored closely.

Also, Payton said running back Reggie Bush, who had an arthroscopic procedure in October and another surgery on his left knee in December, has been working out in New Orleans and is coming along nicely with his rehab.

"He's good," Payton said of Bush, "he's way ahead of schedule."

--Miami prosecutors decided to drop charges of resisting arrest against Saints middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma after he agreed to give to charity and clear up outstanding tickets.

Vilma, a former University of Miami star, was arrested Jan. 16 during a traffic stop and charged with felony resisting arrest with violence and misdemeanor counts of reckless driving and obstruction of justice.

Vilma will donate $1,000 to a hospital trauma center, said Ed Griffith, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office.

The officer involved agreed with the decision not to press charges, Griffith said. In a statement released by the Saints, Vilma thanked prosecutors for their decision.

"As I have indicated in the past, I would vigorously fight any charges filed against me surrounding the incident that occurred," he said. "I believe the State Attorney's office did the just and right thing in this matter."

--A federal judge has set a June 15 trial date for the five NFL players -- including Saints defensive ends Will Smith and Charles Grant and former Saints running back Deuce McAllister -- who tested positive for a banned substance last season.

The players are seeking monetary damages in addition to having a four-game NFL suspension overturned. The players association has argued that the league didn't properly inform the players that a weight-loss supplement called StarCaps contained the banned diuretic bumetanide -- which can be used as a masking agent for steroids.

The other players involved are Minnesota Vikings defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams. The five were suspended late last season but got an injunction in mid-December that allowed them to keep playing.

The suspensions will begin next season if they are upheld.

--Former Saints tackle William Roaf, who's generally considered to be one of the greatest players in club history, is one of eight former athletes and coaches who will inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame this summer.

Roaf is one of three former NFL players to earn a spot this year in the Hall, which is located in Natchitoches, La. The others are running back Marshall Faulk, a New Orleans native, and outside linebacker Michael Brooks, who starred at LSU.

A 30-member committee of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, which sponsors the Hall of Fame, selected the 2009 inductees after considering a record 132 nominees from 21 different sports.

The eight new inductees, who will be officially enshrined on June 27 to conclude three days of festivities, will raise the total of Hall of Fame members to 269 men and women.

Roaf was elected to a club-record seven Pro Bowls when he played for the Saints from 1993 to 2001. A 2008 enshrinee into the Saints Hall of Fame, he earned All-Pro first- or second-team honors five times with the team.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I just thought we needed a change in leadership. I just thought it was time for a change. It was the most difficult decision I've had to make as a head coach. And in Gary's defense, we had a lot of injuries on defense last year. It's easy to say, 'Hey, it's one person,' but there are some players that in the end that this will affect as well." -- Saints coach Sean Payton, on the firing of defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 2, 2009