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News » New Orleans Saints Notes, Quotes 2009-03-20


New Orleans Saints Notes, Quotes 2009-03-20


New Orleans Saints Notes, Quotes 2009-03-20
--The Saints continued to change the look of their secondary on Thursday when they released veteran cornerback Mike McKenzie.


Earlier this month, the Saints signed Buffalo Bills cornerback Jabari Greer to a four-year contract to help improve a secondary that has been torched time and again by the deep ball in the last two seasons.

And on Wednesday, they added free safety Darren Sharper to the mix.

Even though he was their best cover corner, McKenzie's release wasn't a big surprise when you consider he'll be 33 in April and he's finished the last two seasons on injured reserve with right knee injuries. He tore his ACL in 2007 and fractured the kneecap in early November last season.

The move clears $4.575 million in cap space for the Saints.

--During LSU's Pro Day last Monday, Saints coach Sean Payton talked about what his team wanted to accomplish in the second phase of free agency.

In the first two weeks of free agency, the Saints re-signed three of their own unrestricted free agents -- their biggest priority going in -- and plucked two new players from other teams.

Payton told the Baton Rouge Advocate they still had some work to do to add depth along the offensive and defensive lines but wanted to take their time.

"We had some guys in (for visits)," Payton said, "but we want to be slow in the process and not be in a hurry."

One day later, the Saints sped up the process a little bit, agreeing with Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Paul Spicer and St. Louis Rams center Nick Leckey on one-year contracts. They also re-signed wide receiver/kick returner Courtney Roby, a restricted free agent who did not receive a tender offer from the team in February.

Then, on Wednesday, they landed Cleveland Browns tight end Darnell Dinkins with a one-year deal as well. Finally, they got Minnesota Vikings free safety Darren Sharper on board to fill one of their pressing needs to end a two-day whirlwind.

--While officials with the State of Louisiana and representatives of the Saints continue to work on a long-term Superdome lease agreement that could put New Orleans in position to host the 2013 Super Bowl, there is no rush to strike a deal by April 1.

Doug Thornton, a regional vice president for SMG, the company that manages the Superdome for the state, said that a proposal to host a Super Bowl will be submitted to the NFL no later than April 1.

Thornton said the state, along with the Saints and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, will join to make the application to bring a Super Bowl back to the Crescent City for the first time since Feb. 2002.

"The April 1 deadline is simply a deadline to submit the application to the NFL for the Super Bowl bid," Thornton said. "And we intend to do that. We are working with the Saints and the Sports Foundation right now to get that application submitted."

--Payton and his Payton's Play It Forward Foundation hosted the Lakeview Viking Festival in New Orleans last Saturday.

Payton conducted a football clinic and more than 1,000 fans turned out for the activities, which included a 5K run and fun run for kids. All proceeds from the event went to repairs for Lakeview Playground, which was damaged during Hurricane Katrina.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're excited we could add him to the mix on defense to help improve our secondary play. He is a player with extremely good ball skills. We'll see if he handles that (quarterback of the defense) role for us. But certainly his experience is going to help." -- Saints coach Sean Payton on the addition of free safety Darren Sharper.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 20, 2009

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John Denney Name: John Denney
#92
Position: C
Age: 29
Experience: 4 years
College: Brigham Young
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