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tiggerpolice 05-20-2005 08:05 AM

Brown again stays away; move is contract-related
Brown again stays away; move is contract-related
Team didn't know he sought new deal
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
By Jeff Duncan
Staff writer
Fakhir Brown became a holdout Tuesday when his agent, Ted Marchibroda Jr., confirmed that the Saints' starting right cornerback wants a new contract and plans to skip the team's coaching-session workouts until a new deal is done.

Brown and linebacker Derrick Rodgers are the only veterans who missed the first two days of the practices. Rodgers is excused while rehabilitating his injured back.


Brown, a six-year cornerback, did not tell the Saints he planned to skip the workouts. Marchibroda confirmed Tuesday that Brown's absence is contract-related, but declined to elaborate.

"We want to handle this the right way," Marchibroda said.

Coaching session workouts are voluntary, but players are expected to participate. The four-days-a-week practice sessions conclude June 8.

As of Tuesday night, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said he had not heard from Brown.

"He's never expressed to us that he wants a new deal or that he's out because of his contract," Loomis said. "It's news to me. All we know is that he didn't show up."

Brown is entering the final year of a two-year deal he signed last spring. He is scheduled to earn a $540,000 base salary this season. When Brown signed the deal, he was a reserve behind starters Ashley Ambrose and Fred Thomas. But he played his way into the lineup and is now the starter opposite Mike McKenzie.

Brown, however, is not considered a top priority of Loomis and senior football administrator Russ Ball. The duo also is trying to work out long-term deals for running back Deuce McAllister, center LeCharles Bentley and perhaps cornerback Mike McKenzie.

Throughout his tenure, Loomis has been steadfastly opposed to negotiating deals with players who hold out while under contract. "This is no different," Loomis said.

The Saints are expected to re-open talks with McAllister within the next week. McAllister's agent, Ben Dogra, said he spoke with Loomis earlier this month about resuming negotiations and hopes to submit a proposal for a multiyear deal to the Saints by next week. The sides conducted preliminary talks before and during last season.

"It's our move to try to get something to the Saints," Dogra said. "Deuce wants to be in New Orleans. Hopefully, we can get something done that keeps Deuce there for the rest of his career."

McAllister will earn a base salary of $2.3 million this season via an accelerator clause in his original deal that boosted his base pay by $1.75 million. His rookie contract was for six years at $6.25 million.

McAllister, a two-time Pro Bowler, is expected to command a deal similar to the eight-year, $50 million deal Clinton Portis received from Washington in March 2004. Portis' deal includes $17 million in bonuses during the first four years.

Loomis was able to create salary-cap room for a deal with McAllister last month by restructuring the first year of wide receiver Joe Horn's six-year, $41 million contract extension. The deal reduced Horn's cap figure from $6.5 million to about $3 million.

"We would expect to have some discussions in the near future," Loomis said. "Obviously Deuce and LeCharles and Mike McKenzie are guys that we have to consider (making long-term offers). But whether we get a deal or deals done with all of them remains to be seen."

Bentley, also a two-time Pro Bowl invitee, also will merit a lucrative extension. He is entering the final year of the rookie contract he signed in 2002. He signed a four-year deal worth $2.95 million. His base salary is scheduled to be $455,000.

"I'm not concerned about it right now," Bentley said.

Bentley said "life reasons" and not a potential contract extension were behind his decision to work out in his hometown of Cleveland this offseason instead of participating in the team's conditioning program.

"Sometimes you need to take care of things in your personal life and career," Bentley said. "My contract had noting to do with it. I'm under contract for another year. Coach Haslett was aware of what I was doing and was OK with it."

Before being traded to New Orleans last October, McKenzie -- entering the fourth year of a five-year, $17.1 million contract -- complained publicly about his contract. After being acquired by the Saints, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus said McKenzie would play the rest of the 2004 season under the terms of that deal, but added that he hoped to eventually get it "resolved."

"(Loomis) understands the dynamics that went into Mike's situation; his contract was obviously an issue," Rosenhaus said at the time. "We hope to get that resolved; whether that happens this season or in the winter, I'm not going to make that an issue."

On Tuesday, McKenzie said his contract "is not an issue" and said he didn't want to distract from the momentum gained in the Saints' season-ending, four-game winning streak last season.

McKenzie participated in the Saints' offseason conditioning program on a part-time basis. He admitted that he preferred to work out with a personal trainer in his hometown of Miami, as he did throughout his six-year career with the Packers.

"Coach Haslett really stressed to me the importance of being here . . . and I definitely wanted to be here and let them know that I'm in it for the long haul," said McKenzie, who led the Saints with five interceptions in 11 games. "I love New Orleans. You can't beat Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. It's not like the Frozen Tundra. I love being here."

LYMAN UPDATE: Rookie wide receiver Chase Lyman underwent successful surgery Monday to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and is expected to begin a six-month rehabilitation program soon in his hometown of Los Altos, Calif., Loomis said.

Dr. Arthur Ting performed the procedure, which involved reconstructing the ligament with the graft of a ligament from a human cadaver. Saints officials wanted their team physician, Tim Finney, to perform the surgery, but Lyman chose Ting, who conducted the same procedure on him in October.

Ting, who performed all three surgeries on San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds' knee this year, recently was placed on probation by the Medical Board of California for five years in April 2004 because of behavior that "constitutes unprofessional conduct."

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JKool 05-20-2005 11:26 AM

RE: Brown again stays away; move is contract-related
Good article Tigger!

tiggerpolice 05-20-2005 12:02 PM

RE: Brown again stays away; move is contract-related

ScottyRo 05-20-2005 12:47 PM

RE: Brown again stays away; move is contract-related

Brown, a six-year cornerback, did not tell the Saints he planned to skip the workouts. Marchibroda confirmed Tuesday that Brown's absence is contract-related, but declined to elaborate.

"We want to handle this the right way," Marchibroda said.
And the right way to handle this is to not even tell the team you are planning to hold out for a new contract until after you start holding out?

He might just hold himself right out of a starting spot. It's not like he's considered to be a great CB by any means. We just don't have any competition for him or very little.

bayouking318 05-20-2005 01:54 PM

RE: Brown again stays away; move is contract-related
I bet Loomis is kickin himself in the butt for not pickin a CB for the 3rd consecutive year (especially when this was the draft to get one)

FireVenturi 05-21-2005 10:18 AM

Fakir needs to get his @$$ in camp, or he will get benched. he is an average player, but luckily for him he is the second best corner on the team!

JKool 05-21-2005 10:21 AM

The FO can't be that affraid of the Alex Molden pick can they? I don't see why we haven't selected a CB in like forever!

Either way, Fakir is a starting NFL CB (regardless of what team it is for), he probably deserves more than he is making (and by deserves, I mean by standards relative to the NFL).

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