An agreement in principle struck between owner Tom Benson and NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue will return the New Orleans Saints to Louisiana for practice in 2006, and likely for the entire regular-season schedule. The agreement, first reported by the San Antonio Express-News, was confirmed by two league owners, one of whom serves on the advisory committee that is counseling Benson on the direction of his franchise. "Today we are very pleased to advise our entire organization -- coaches, players and staff -- that we will be returning to Metairie in January," Benson said Friday in a memo circulated to the team. "We are working in Louisiana to play as many games as possible in the Superdome, which may be ready in September." Under the accord, which is expected to be finalized soon, the Saints will return to their permanent practice facility in Metairie, La., just outside of New Orleans. The state-owned training complex was commandeered by FEMA in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and used as a staging area. Saints officials had previously contended that the facility was in disrepair, but the damage was not nearly as severe as originally indicated. "[The talks] haven't always been amicable, and [Benson] still has some doubts about all of this, but it looks like they're going back [to Louisiana]," one owner advising the Saints said.
Saints To Return To Louisiana For 2006