this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; More From The Times-Picayune | Subscribe To The Times-Picayune Excitement culminates with pick Saints listened to trade offers, but Bush was their guy Sunday, April 30, 2006 By Mike Triplett Staff writer Somewhere between the "minestrone soup and the redfish," ...
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More From The Times-Picayune | Subscribe To The Times-Picayune
Excitement culminates with pick
Saints listened to trade offers, but Bush was their guy
Sunday, April 30, 2006
By Mike Triplett
Somewhere between the "minestrone soup and the redfish," Saints coach Sean Payton heard that the Houston Texans, who had the top pick in the NFL draft, had signed North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams on Friday night.
So much for a relaxing dinner at Emeril's on the night before his first draft in New Orleans.
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said he typically likes to wrap up the pre-draft preparations around 1 p.m. on Friday to relax as much as possible before the big day.
But when the Saints found out they were on the clock and Southern Cal tailback Reggie Bush, who won the Heisman Trophy, was on the board, "There wasn't much relaxation," Loomis said.
It was not frantic, just exciting.
Loomis said the Saints had discussed all the possibilities, including this long-shot scenario, so they just decided to regroup at Saints headquarters for an hour or two to finalize their game plan for Saturday morning.
"We knew we wanted Reggie Bush," Loomis said. "We knew we were going to take him. The only thing we did was, after dinner, we came back here and just revisited. 'OK, what happens if somebody comes up and calls us with a knock-down offer, a blockbuster deal? And first of all, what is the blockbuster deal? If we had this, this and this, we better consider it.' So that's what we did.
"Sean didn't even want to take the phone calls. He was afraid that we'd get the blockbuster deal. But you have to listen. It doesn't cost you anything to listen."
The Saints received phone calls from four teams -- one Friday night and three Saturday morning -- but they never came close to considering a deal for the No. 2 pick, Loomis said. He said the Saints would only consider a "Ricky Williams-type deal," referring to the whopping draft-day trade the Saints made in 1999 to acquire their last Heisman trophy-winning tailback.
When that offer didn't come for Bush, the Saints turned in their pick with five minutes remaining on the clock.
Loomis did not name any of the teams who called, but according to sources and reports, the New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers were among the suitors.
"Nobody offered anything that we would even have considered," said Loomis, who said no teams even offered the equal value for a No. 2 pick on the value chart that most NFL teams use to evaluate draft-day trades. "And we didn't ask. All I said when teams called was, 'Give me your best shot.' "
Twenty-four hours earlier, before Bush became available, the Saints were much more interested in fielding trade offers.
They had identified the player -- Loomis declined to say whom -- they wanted if Bush was not available, but they were hoping they could get that player a few picks later.
"We knew who we wanted to pick. But hopefully there would be one or two teams who wanted to move up one or two spots to get their guy -- not the guy we wanted -- and we'd get something in addition," Loomis said of the original plan. "But clearly, once Reggie Bush became available, that whole scenario went out the window.
"We wanted the player. We wanted Reggie Bush for our team, we wanted him for the city, for all the reasons. The kind of person he is, for everything involved. Obviously we're excited. Probably more excited than we would have been if he wasn't available."
The Saints' front office wasn't alone in its excitement when the Texans signed Williams on Friday night.
Almost immediately, new Saints quarterback Drew Brees called Bush to encourage him to join the new offense being built in New Orleans.
By the time Payton came into Saints headquarters, he already received a call from Brees telling him that he talked to Bush and that Bush was excited about joining the team.
"We are excited about our draft pick," Payton said. "This time of year everyone talks about, 'We got our guy' and, 'We got the highest rated guy on our board.'
"In this case, we got our guy, and we got the highest rated guy on the board."
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Mike Triplett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (504) 826-3405.
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