The spin on Ambrose......
Here's a good article on Ashley Ambrose out of Monroe.
Monday, June 23, 2003 10:38 P.M.
A happy reunion
Former Saint DB Ambrose glad to be back Dome
Posted on June 23, 2003
According to Thomas Wolfe, one can never go home.
Wolfe never met Ashley Ambrose.
Not only is Ambrose returning to his hometown of New Orleans to play for the Saints, but the 12-year NFL veteran is making his second tour of duty in the Crescent City in the last four years.
"It feels great to be playing in front of my family again," Ambrose said. "This is a good deal for me - and I'm more excited about this team than when I was here in the past. This team is capable of winning the Super Bowl and that's the reason I came back."
Ambrose played for the Saints in 1999 during the failed Mike Ditka era. When Jim Haslett became the coach, the Saints decided against re-signing Ambrose, who had become a free agent. He left for the Atlanta Falcons - and, after three seasons with the Saints' bitter NFC South rivals, was released in a salary cap move.
The Saints - looking to bolster a defense that ranked 26th in points allowed and 27th in total yards last season, and needing help at cornerback - jumped at the opportunity to bring Ambrose back home.
His new-look unit was part of a two-hour practice last week at the Louisiana Superdome for season ticketholders, the final team tuneup in anticipation for training camp. Camp begins in late July at a new training facility in Metairie.
"We just felt that you cannot have enough good corners," Haslett said. "This addition gives us four quality corners that are strong and big and are good quality cover guys."
Ambrose, who prepped at Fortier High School, will compete with Fred Thomas for the starting spot opposite Dale Carter. Even if he doesn't start, the 5-10, 187-pounder will serve as the third corner in nickel situations and give the Saints a much-needed upgrade in pass coverage ability.
With 36 career picks, Ambrose has long been regarded as one of the NFL's top cover men.
"He is a guy that we have struggled with over the last three years since I've been here," Haslett said. "They have matched him up with our best receiver every time we have played Atlanta. He can run."
The former second-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts is a key piece in a major overhaul of the Saints defense.
"It gives us a big size corner to go along with Dale Carter and Fred Thomas," Haslett said. "It also takes away a good player from a rival team that we lost to twice last year."
In addition to Ambrose, the Saints' makeover included a trade for safety Tebucky Jones and signing free agent middle linebacker Orlando Ruff. The NFL Draft yieled defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan in the first round and linebacker Cie Grant in the third round.
"I think we're going to be a lot better," Ambrose said of the defense. "We're going to be a faster defense. I think Tebucky is probably the most athletic safety out there. He can do it all. I like our chances."
The defense is being revamped with an eye on stopping Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick, the game's most exciting player - and perhaps the fastest player in the NFL.
Stopping Vick, and hence the Falcons, is critical for the Saints to make the playoffs.
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