Saints defensive coordinator Rick Venturi returned to work
--Saints defensive coordinator Rick Venturi returned to work for the first week of the team's coaching sessions, just three weeks after having surgery.
Venturi underwent back surgery on April 28, a procedure in which doctors fused the C-4 and C-5 vertebrae in his back. He was back on the field late last week, using a golf cart to get to practice from his office.
Venturi used the same cart tight ends coach Bob Palcic used during the early stages of training camp last summer. Palcic had double knee replacement surgery just before the start of camp.
--Some senators don't like the deal Louisiana has with the Saints, but a panel killed legislation last week that would have broken the state's contract with the NFL team.
The Senate Finance Committee voted 7-2 against Senate Bill 18, which would have prohibited the state from spending, loaning or borrowing money "for the benefit of any National Football League franchise."
Sen. Rob Marionneaux, the sponsor of the bill, said the administration of Gov. Kathleeen Blanco should attack the validity of the contract with the Saints.
He said a contract isn't binding when one governor creates obligations that a later governor, who had no input into the initial agreement, is called upon to perform. Former Gov. Mike Foster worked out a 10-year, $186.5 million subsidy package for the Saints back in 2001.
--New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is attempting to act as a mediator between the Saints and state officials who continue to decry the subsidies the team receives as a result of a deal made by former Gov. Mike Foster.
Nagin is working behind the scenes to arrange a meeting between Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Saints owner Tom Benson, who recently rejected an offer by Blanco to renovate the Superdome in exchange for a reduction in the payments the state gives the team each year.
"Right now, they're not talking," Nagin said. "I'm hopeful they can get together."
Nagin said he saw Benson a couple of weeks ago and urged him to talk to the governor. Instead, Benson steered the conversation to the upcoming NFL season.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"I was happy with the number of players we had there and thought that everybody was in pretty good shape. Practice was upbeat and went smooth." -- Saints coach Jim Haslett on the start of the team's coaching sessions.
RE: Saints defensive coordinator Rick Venturi returned to wo
Re: RE: Saints defensive coordinator Rick Venturi returned t
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