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TallySaint 05-18-2006 03:03 PM

Benson, Saints Officials Tour Millsaps College
Benson, Saints officials tour Millsaps College

AP Sports Writer, May 18

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson and team officials toured Millsaps College on Thursday as they consider moving preseason camp to the Division III school's campus.

"I don't know if we've got all our questions answered," Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said. "But we've seen the facilities. Now we just have to get our heads together collectively and say this is the way this would work here."

Benson, Loomis and new coach Sean Payton were among the handful of Saints representatives who spent at least 2-1/2 hours on campus, at times riding golf carts through the tiny Methodist college in downtown Jackson.

During a brief news conference before the group left for New Orleans, Loomis declined to give a timetable except to say the decision is expected in the near future.

The Saints are debating whether to move preseason camp about 200 miles north after they held their last three camps at the team's practice facility in Metairie, La.

In previous years, the team left metropolitan New Orleans and held training camp in cities in Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida.

"It would be an opportunity to show the good Millsaps-Mississippi hospitality," school president Frances Lucas said.

Millsaps' stadium has a grasslike artificial surface similar to the one in the Superdome. The school lacks an indoor practice facility, but officials have said they would make available their indoor activity center. Other questions include the amount of space in the school's dormitories.

"We're just trying to do our due diligence, (look at) all the positives, all the logistical mechanisms and see what the best environment is," Loomis said.

Payton has said he would prefer to move the team during training camp to avoid distractions and build team unity. As an assistant with the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants, Payton routinely went on the road for preseason camp.

The Saints already have one trip to Jackson scheduled this year. They will play an exhibition game against the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 29 less than a mile from the Millsaps campus at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.


TallySaint 05-18-2006 03:07 PM

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