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Deal gives Saints, La. more time to negotiate

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Deal gives Saints, La. more time to negotiate Dome official says move means team will play in La. next year In a bold step forward in negotiations, Saints owner Tom Benson and Gov. Kathleen Blanco agreed Friday to postpone until ...

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Old 11-05-2005, 11:14 AM   #1
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Deal gives Saints, La. more time to negotiate

Deal gives Saints, La. more time to negotiate

Dome official says move means team will play in La. next year


In a bold step forward in negotiations, Saints owner Tom Benson and Gov. Kathleen Blanco agreed Friday to postpone until after the 2006 season two termination deadlines in the team's Superdome lease.

"This will require the Saints to play in Louisiana next year," Superdome Commission Chairman Tim Coulon said. "That is a good step."

The move, which was encouraged by National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue on Sunday in meetings with state and team officials in Baton Rouge, buys both sides much-needed time.

As a result, state officials can focus on the enormous task of rebuilding the region in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf Coast two months ago. And the Saints and the NFL can evaluate New Orleans as a post-Katrina market before deciding on the team's long-term future.

Benson proposed the postponements in a letter to Blanco on Friday. Blanco agreed to the measures in a letter to Tagliabue and Benson attorney Stanley Rosenberg.

"This will allow the state of Louisiana to focus on more immediate and pressing issues in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita," Benson said in the letter. "It also will allow the Saints to avoid prematurely having to consider decisions that can better be made in the months ahead."

Coulon, one of the state's key negotiators on contract issues with the Saints, said the NFL, "through the commissioner and his staff," was the catalyst in making the postponement happen.

"The commissioner had a hand to play in this. The NFL stepped in as a partner with the state and the team," Coulon said.

The move affects two dates:

-- It pushes back from Nov. 27 a contract provision giving the Saints the authority to break its contract with the state because the Superdome is not usable because of Katrina. That deadline has been pushed back to Jan. 15, 2007.

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http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/frontpa...3981142250.xml
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