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Saints owner threatening to move Team Again

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/sp...4/21south.html Saints owner threatening to move without stadium fix-up, other treats By MATT WINKELJOHN The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published on: 11/19/04 It's too early to be sure, but when the Falcons travel to New Orleans on Christmas afternoon before a Dec. ...

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Old 11-21-2004, 07:05 AM   #1
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Saints owner threatening to move Team Again

http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/sp...4/21south.html

Saints owner threatening to move without stadium fix-up, other treats

By MATT WINKELJOHN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 11/19/04


It's too early to be sure, but when the Falcons travel to New Orleans on Christmas afternoon before a Dec. 26 game, it might be one of the last trips they make as a team to the Big Easy. Or maybe not.

In the NFL, it's rarely long between threats made by one team owner or another to take his toy (team), and leave if he doesn't get what he wants (a new stadium, or more free money, or a way to make more money).

Tom Benson's at it again. The Saints owner this week told city and state officials that he wants his, or else.

Amid whispers that Benson wouldn't mind moving his team to Los Angeles, he said, "I don't want to move. I don't want to sell. We have three choices: We can build a new stadium, extend and enhance our current agreement, or tell us to leave. And we have to do this by early next year."

Benson's already getting dump trucks of cash inducements from the state of Louisiana (about $81 million in the past four seasons) to keep his team around after previous poor-mouthing about the Superdome and the fact it's a poor revenue producer relative to many other NFL venues.

This week, he gave a Feb. 1 deadline for city and state officials to decide whether to build a new stadium, or "enhance" the team's agreement with the state.

All Benson wants in that enhancement is a $168 million Superdome renovation, adjustments to their mutual deal through 2020 that would eliminate the state's escape clauses but include annual payments from the state, and a 25-acre tailgate park near the dome.

Oh, and he also wants a state-operated multi-sport facility, separate development of eight acres near team headquarters (where he wants to build a hotel, and a Saints Hall of Fame), and a sports-themed redevelopment of the mall connected to the dome.

And Benson said he can't pay for any of it. He thinks he might get the NFL to pitch in about $40 million.

Does this sound like what a man wants to stay, or a man trying to get the boot?

With Los Angeles officials working diligently to make their city viable again for a team, the league is looking at a situation akin to what it had when former Browns owner Art Modell had when he stole away, moving his team to Baltimore after the '95 season.

Cleveland was desperate to land another team, putting together a package for a wonderful lakefront stadium, etc. Many other teams used that -- some publicly, some tacitly -- to get more from their communities in exchange for not moving to Cleveland.

In "Glory for Sale," a book about Modell moving his team, reporter/author Jon Morgan wrote, "Directly or indirectly, the Browns' relocation caused stadiums to be built for the Ravens, the Redskins, the Bengals, the Browns, the Bucs, the Lions and the Seahawks. The impact of the Browns move on taxpayers nationally was staggering."

As Los Angeles becomes more viable, there could be a similar affect.

L.A. is giving Benson leverage, or a landing pad.

Meanwhile, taxpayers in Louisiana don't have the green for a renovation, let alone a far more expensive new stadium.

The state had to borrow $7 million from a special economic development fund last year to make its $15 million payment to the team.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco said any money for renovations or a new Saints contract, "should be generated in the greater New Orleans region," and not by the entire state.

Blanco also told reporters it is, "impossible" for the state to renovate the Dome and keep making annual payments to the team.

"That is getting unaffordable," she said. "I believe the franchise should help pay for these renovations and that the state's lease with the team should be restructured to move away from paying cash inducements and toward providing the team with enhanced opportunities to earn revenues in a renovated Superdome."


To kick, or just punt


Carolina punter Todd Sauerbrun, who took over place-kicking duties last Sunday at San Francisco when kicker John Kasay strained his right calf, connected on three extra points and a 34-yard field goal in the Panthers' comeback win.

This week, he said he told team officials he would not add kicking chores to his punting duties unless team officials waived the fines levied against him this season.

Fines? For what?

"Being overweight," Sauerbrun told the Charlotte Observer. "That just doesn't make any sense to me. It's my fault, but I don't agree on it."

What are you supposed to weigh?

"It's like 217 and I'm like 218 or 219. Those fines add up," he said. "They fine you every day, every pound. The one week I was like four or five pounds overweight. So that's probably like $40,000 (so far) and that (ticks) me off bad."

If you're that close, why not cut the weight? "I try," he said. "I'm telling you man, I just can't stop eating. I just love food."


Griese roughed up


When Bucs quarterback Brian Griese was sacked seven times last Sunday by the Falcons, he literally ducked under a few of the hits. Still, he was sore enough to be limited by a sore right shoulder in practice Wednesday.

Bucs running back Mike Alstott returned to practice, less than four weeks after spraining the medial collateral ligament in his right knee. He may start today against the 49ers.

Safety Jermaine Phillips, the former University of Georgia standout, had surgery on his broken right forearm Wednesday. His absence led the team to re-sign former Bucs safety and Super Bowl MVP Dexter Jackson, who'd been let go by Arizona.

"No (predictions) yet," on Phillips, Gruden said.


Bad draft picks


Five players selected by the Saints in their past two drafts did not suit up for last Sunday's game against the Chiefs, and just one was out because of an injury.

The others were coaches' decisions.


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Old 11-21-2004, 08:46 AM   #2
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Saints owner threatening to move Team Again

Thanks for the heads up moron. Because nobody on this board had any idea about this.....Stadium deal?? Possible relocation?? REally?? Why don\'t you go back to your fledgling rapping career??

(Posters note: Please denote any and all sarcasm above)
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Old 11-21-2004, 09:24 AM   #3
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Saints owner threatening to move Team Again

Thanks for the heads up moron. Because nobody on this board had any idea about this.....Stadium deal?? Possible relocation?? REally?? Why don\'t you go back to your fledgling rapping career??

(Posters note: Please denote any and all sarcasm above)
:P
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Old 11-21-2004, 09:31 AM   #4
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Saints owner threatening to move Team Again


This week, he said he told team officials he would not add kicking chores to his punting duties unless team officials waived the fines levied against him this season.

Fines? For what?

\"Being overweight,\" Sauerbrun told the Charlotte Observer. \"That just doesn\'t make any sense to me. It\'s my fault, but I don\'t agree on it.\"

What are you supposed to weigh?

\"It\'s like 217 and I\'m like 218 or 219. Those fines add up,\" he said. \"They fine you every day, every pound. The one week I was like four or five pounds overweight. So that\'s probably like $40,000 (so far) and that (ticks) me off bad.\"
Can you guys believe this? I mean, I know these guys get paid a lot of money and all, but this guy\'s the punter for chrissake! It ain\'t like they\'re timing him in the 40...
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Old 11-21-2004, 05:38 PM   #5
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Saints owner threatening to move Team Again

As much as I don\'t like him, I have been appreciative of Benson\'s willingness to work with the State. He may not be a good football owner, but he\'s adequate at being a business owner.

Still, no new news to me. I\'ve been hearing stuff about this for months now. And I certainly didn\'t need to hear it from an Atlanta newspaper...
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Old 11-21-2004, 05:52 PM   #6
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Saints owner threatening to move Team Again

http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/sp...4/21south.html

Saints owner threatening to move without stadium fix-up, other treats


I\'m not really interested in what the Atlanta <strike>Journal-Constitution</strike> Urinal-Constitution has to say about anything...
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