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BillyCarpenter1 08-01-2003 07:15 AM

Sullivan first practice

Haslett pleased with Sullivan's first workout

Associated Press

The New Orleans Saints' first-round draft choice, defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan, reached a 7-year contract agreement with the team and reported to camp on Thursday.

Sullivan was thrown right into practice and looked good to coach Jim Haslett.

"Yeah, it's nice to have him in," Haslett said. "He's in good shape. We put him in there and gave him some work. I thought he did fine."

Sullivan's contract includes an $11.4 million signing bonus, agent Len Rowe confirmed.

"It's a sizable increase over the number six slot last year in terms of signing bonus," Rowe said.

The total package is worth $19 million. Sullivan can void the final two years of the contract by playing 35 percent of the defensive plays this season or 45 percent of the plays in any of the next four seasons, Rowe said.

Although negotiations had stalled over the weekend, Rowe said the talks were never contentious.

"It was always professional," Rowe said. "It was just a difference of opinion in Johnathan's market value."

Sullivan, a 6-3 defensive tackle who played at Georgia, will compete with veterans Martin Chase and Grady Jackson for the starting nose tackle position. Knowing that made missing eight practices at training camp tough, Sullivan said.

"It's been kind of nervous waiting to get on the field," Sullivan said.

Sullivan said the first practice showed that he was "behind a bit," but he said he would catch up. Haslett agreed.

"It's not like he's a wideout or a running back," Haslett said. "He's a defensive lineman. He's very intelligent, he picks things up fast. We threw him in at a position today that he didn't practice in the offseason. He did a pretty good job during the limited snaps that he was in there."

Sullivan said he spent his time watching television and working out. He still reported to camp weighing 323 pounds, 11 pounds more than he wants to be when the season starts.

In the April draft, the Saints traded the 17th and 18th overall picks to Arizona to choose Sullivan as the sixth pick.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

[Edited on 1/8/2003 by BillyCarpenter1]

BillyCarpenter1 08-01-2003 07:22 AM

Sullivan first practice

» More From The Times-Picayune

Saints News

Coaching staff impressed by Sullivan

Defensive tackle eager to make impact

Friday August 01, 2003

By Jeff Duncan
Staff writer

Around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, Johnathan Sullivan knocked on the hotel-room door of his agent, Len Rowe, to ask for a key to the fitness facility.

Sullivan wanted to burn a little extra energy and pounds with an eleventh-hour session on the treadmill.

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Rowe gave him the key and some advice.

\"I told him, \'If you haven\'t lost (the weight) by now, it\'s too late,\' \" Rowe said.

Sullivan\'s angst was understandable. After agreeing to a seven-year, $19 million contract earlier that afternoon, the Saints first-round round draft pick wanted to make a good impression on his new teammates and coaches.

Sullivan did just that during his first workout Thursday afternoon.

\"We were impressed,\" Saints defensive line coach Sam Clancy said. \"He did just what we knew he could do, and that is to be physical.\"

The Saints didn\'t baby Sullivan during his first day on the job, although he did catch a break when the afternoon workout was moved into the new indoor practice facility because of inclement weather.

He and Clancy huddled for an hour before practice for a cram session on the entire defensive playbook. At practice, he alternated reps with the first- and second-team defenses at the \"three-technique\" defensive tackle spot. Sullivan worked at nose tackle during the minicamps and offseason workouts.

After practice, Sullivan was ordered to run sprints with the quarterbacks then hit the weight room for an hour-long session with strength coach Rock Gullickson.

\"I thought he did fine,\" Saints coach Jim Haslett said. \"He is very intelligent. He picks things up fast. We threw him in at a new position today that he didn\'t practice in the offseason and he did a pretty good job during the limited snaps that he was in there.\"

The extra conditioning is needed. The 6-3 Sullivan reported to camp at 323 pounds, about 10 pounds above his ideal playing weight and 18 pounds more than he carried as a junior at Georgia last season.

\"It\'s not where I want it to be, but hopefully I\'m going to get there,\" Sullivan said of his weight.

The Saints want to try Sullivan at the \"three-technique\" tackle because of his quickness, explosiveness and ability to penetrate the line of scrimmage. The position, which lines up opposite the guard\'s outside shoulder, is the same one La\'Roi Glover excelled at during his Saints career.

Sullivan will compete with Kenny Smith and Henry Ford for the starting position. Martin Chase, Grady Jackson and Kenderick Allen will compete for the nose tackle spot.

\"We want to see how he\'s going to handle the \'three\' position,\" Clancy said. \"The three is a playmaker position. I think he has that position. We are going to work him and drill his (behind). We wanted him in here because we think he can make a difference.\"

For his part, Sullivan is just happy to be in camp. He said the six-day holdout was agonizing but he was confident Rowe would get him a good deal.

\"I was kind of nervous waiting to get back out on the field,\" Sullivan said. \"It was very important for me to hurry up and get back here as soon as possible. I just had to wait until everything was OK.\"

Sullivan flashed the combination of strength, speed and explosive power that convinced the Saints to take him with the No. 6 overall selection in the NFL draft in April.

\"I can\'t really say (how far behind I am) because today I didn\'t really do all the reps,\" Sullivan said. \"Hopefully, I\'ll find out as time goes by.

\"My goal is to come in and become a starter. If somebody else wins the job, then that\'s going to make me work even harder.\"

[Edited on 1/8/2003 by BillyCarpenter1]

tweeky 08-01-2003 07:34 AM

Sullivan first practice

Sullivan will compete with Kenny Smith and Henry Ford for the starting position. Martin Chase, Grady Jackson and Kenderick Allen will compete for the nose tackle spot.
I find it odd that Sullivan is now competing with Kenny Smith and Henry Ford. Before camp started it was Sullivan and Smith as starters. Jackson was to compete with Smith.
Do I remember that right? Is this a defensive philosophy change?

Maybe with this 3-technique, Kenny Smith (who has the speed of an end) is better suited to play the 3 than the traditional 1-2 line-ups.
I need to review my DL-101 course.
I\'m confused and my head hurts.

coastalkid 08-01-2003 09:20 AM

Sullivan first practice
Tweeky I noticed the same thing and wondered what was up with this sudden change. Did Grady loose 20 lbs and suddenly get his starting position back???? Something isn\'t on the up and up here .... smells like a smoke screen AGAIN!

BillyCarpenter1 08-01-2003 09:22 AM

Sullivan first practice
I noticed the same thing that\'s why I posted both articles, They say two different things.

JOESAM2002 08-01-2003 10:21 AM

Sullivan first practice
Or it could be because he held out for a while and is behind. Maybe they\'re giving him something to work towards. Motivation is a wonderful thing.

coastalkid 08-01-2003 12:00 PM

Sullivan first practice
Only time will tell

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