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Louisiana Governor To Push Two New Bills To Keep Saints

Facing a shortfall for a second consecutive year, and determined to not provide New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson with any more ammunition, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco will this week ratchet up attempts to push through two new bills that would create revenues to help fund the state's commitments to the NFL franchise.

Under terms of a 10-year, $186 million agreement struck in 2001 between Benson and then-Gov. Mike Foster, the state owes the Saints a $15 million payment by July 5. The current budget for the Superdome Commission, which essentially serves as the conduit for the payments to the team, indicates a $10 million shortfall.

Via ESPN


Saints' Owner Claims He Has Recieved A Billion-Dollar Offer

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson said at Tuesday's league meetings that he has received an offer of more than $1 billion for his franchise but insisted he's committed to running the club as usual for the 2005 season before deciding the future of the team.

Benson's $1 billion-plus assertion is almost unbelievable in the context of the NFL. That price would be the highest paid for a team in the history of the league ? far more than the record $800 million Daniel Snyder paid to purchase the Washington Redskins in 1999 and nearly double the $625 million Red McCombs stands to receive for his sale of the Minnesota Vikings this week.

Benson says his personal attorney, Stanley Rosenberg, received a "written offer" for the amount.

Adding to the intrigue, Benson has been locked in a contentious battle with state officials over his team's lease of the Louisiana Superdome. On Tuesday here at the owners' annual spring meetings, he sounded like a man who is more than prepared to use a possible move to the Los Angeles market as a bargaining chip.

Though Benson said he wants to stay in New Orleans, he refused to guarantee that he would remain in the city at the end of the upcoming season, when he has a 90-day window to break his lease with the Superdome for an $81 million penalty. Asked if he would consider a move to Los Angeles at that time, Benson said, "You consider everything.

"I don't want to leave New Orleans, and the people don't want us to leave New Orleans ? the majority of them, anyway," Benson said. "Unfortunately, we've got a lot of people who watch television that maybe can't afford to buy tickets. Maybe we can work that out, you know?"

Via Yahoo!


Saints? Brown Continues Hold-Out For Better Contract

New Orleans starting right cornerback Fakhir Brown is not reporting to the Saints preseason workouts until he can secure a new contract deal.

As of Tuesday night, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said he had not heard from Brown.

"He's never expressed to us that he wants a new deal or that he's out because of his contract," Loomis said. "It's news to me. All we know is that he didn't show up."

Via The Times-Picayune


Saints' Owner Considers Move

An attorney for New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson told a newspaper that Benson is interested in moving the football team out of Louisiana and possibly to San Antonio, Albuquerque, N.M., or Los Angeles.

Benson already has implicitly threatened to move the NFL franchise when discussing negotiations with the State of Louisiana over the Saints' Louisiana Superdome lease.

He said last year that the state could accept his stadium proposals or "tell us to leave."

But Benson has declined to comment specifically about what his options would be if he left New Orleans.

Via FoxSports.com


Saints' Chase Lyman Injures Knee

New Orleans Saints officials confirmed Tuesday what they have suspected for several days, announcing that rookie wide receiver Chase Lyman sustained a potential season-ending knee injury during a minicamp practice last week.

A fourth-round choice, and the 118th player selected overall, Lyman tore the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee during a non-contact drill. It is the second time in just seven months that Lyman has torn the ACL in his left knee, and it continues a stretch of serious injuries that limited the former University of California star to just eight starts during his college career.

Via ESPN


Saints May 2005 Archive