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Sunday morning report: Return of the Oil King

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Posted by Jeff Duncan, Staff writer John Mecom is back! Sorta. To the delight of reporters everywhere, the 2007 New Orleans Saints Media Guide includes the stats and information of owner John Mecom Jr.'s tenure, 1967 to 1984. The Mecom ...

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Old 07-30-2007, 01:50 AM   #1
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Cool Sunday morning report: Return of the Oil King

Posted by Jeff Duncan, Staff writer

John Mecom is back!

Sorta.

To the delight of reporters everywhere, the 2007 New Orleans Saints Media Guide includes the stats and information of owner John Mecom Jr.'s tenure, 1967 to 1984.

The Mecom Years were deleted from the guides for four years, from 2003 to 2006, at the request of owner Tom Benson, who apparently didn't want to be associated with the sorry early history of the club. (The Saints failed to post a winning season in Mecom's tenure.)

Just like that, 18 seasons of football -- gone.

NFL officials tried to dissuade Benson from excluding the content, and the move drew widespread criticism from reporters, who were forced to use an extra media guide - one from pre-2003 - to reference early records.

During the club's playoff run last season, both the San Francisco Chronicle and The New York Times made light of the move.

Thankfully, Benson relented this year. Now reporters who want to compare, say, Drew Brees' 2006 numbers to Archie Manning's 1970 campaign can do so in one book, like every other team in the NFL.

Makes sense. Finally.

Some early observations from Sunday:

-- Fans are going to love new cornerback Jason David. He's a personable guy with a great attitude. He's admittedly still feeling his way in the Saints' defense but once he gets comfortable he'll give Fred Thomas a run for the starting spot opposite Mike McKenzie.

-- Speaking of Thomas, he had a stellar practice, despite a knucklehead fan who heckled him throughout the session. The classy Thomas is one of the most underrated players in club history, and I would not count him out in the competition with David. Former Saints fullback and scout Hokie Gajan said he thinks you can make a case for Thomas being one of the best cornerbacks in club history.

-- Rookie cornerback Usama Young made his official debut Sunday and one thing stood out: his athleticism. The guy can flat-out get up. He recorded a 43-inch vertical jump at his pro day workout and displayed that leaping ability in a couple of passing drills Sunday. Few players are going to beat him in a jump-ball situation. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if the crafty Sean Payton used Young on offense on Hail Mary plays. He played receiver in high school and his leaping ability is that good.

-- The competition on kickoff returns is wide open. On Sunday no fewer than eight players took turns catching and returning kicks: Aaron Stecker, Terrance Cooper, Lance Moore, David Jones, Tremain Hall, Joe Porter, Robert Meachem and Dante Ridgeway.

-- Deuce McAllister raised eyebrows when he entered the media tent after the morning workout with a large ice bag strapped to his right knee. He said the condition wasn't serious. "The (turf) here is a kind of hard and my knee gets a little sore every time we practice on it," McAllister said.

-- Joe Dumars, the president of basketball operations for the Detroit Pistons, is scheduled to speak to the team sometime before camp breaks. Dumars, a former Northwestern State star, follows in the shoes of Dallas Mavericks Coach Avery Johnson, who spoke to the Saints last year at the invitation of Payton.

-- OK, I've got to take back my bold prediction about the packed media room. So far, the crowd has been fairly light from the print media corps. A few reporters from national publications have made stops, including Skip Wood (USA Today), Len Pasquarelli (ESPN.com), Pete Prisco (CBSSportsline.com) and John Czarnecki (FoxSports.com).

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