McAllister stands on accelerator
Don't mention the word "offseason" to Deuce McAllister, the New Orleans Saints running back poised to become the team's all-time leading rusher.
"Offseason?" he asked mockingly. "What's an offseason?"
The two-time Pro Bowler was relaxing Thursday after completing the first week of coaching sessions - a series of 14 practices held over a 3ÃƒÂ‚Ã‚Â½-week period in helmets and shorts.
In addition to getting ready for the upcoming season, McAllister has been busy with his Catch 22 Foundation and several other charitable events, and also took part in the team's recent Eastern Regional Caravan to northeast Louisiana and Mississippi.
He's also preparing to open a used car dealership in Jackson and is working on a project to restore a landmark Jackson hotel.
On top of that, McAllister is hoping to work out a new contract with the team before training camp begins July 29. The rookie contract he signed in 2001 was scheduled to expire after the 2006 season, but the final year of the deal was voided.
McAllister mentioned the possibility of holding out of training camp or the regular season, but only if negotiations don't move forward. He said he's leaving that up to agent Ben Dogra and Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis.
"I'm just enjoying this right now," he said. "I'm trying to recover and get back to 100 percent. This is the only time of the year that a running back is 100 percent, so I'm looking forward to the season."
Getting healthy and remaining healthy are the only goals McAllister is concerned with right now. He missed two games and all but one series of another in 2004 after spraining an ankle in the second game, which slowed him the rest of the year.
The ankle injury kept McAllister from using his speed and explosive power and resulted in just 1,074 rushing yards. In the previous two seasons, the five-year veteran piled up 1,388 and 1,641 yards, respectively.
Saints coach Jim Haslett cited McAllister's conditioning and productivity last year as reasons for dismissing running backs coach Dave Atkins and replacing him with former Green Bay Packers coach Johnny Roland.
Because of the injury, McAllister said he couldn't keep his conditioning up which kept him from peaking around the middle of the schedule and the latter part of the season.
"That (Haslett's words) doesn't bother me because everybody has their opinion of this, that or the other," McAllister said. "Whether it was positive or negative, you take it in stride and you continue to go about your business.
"Some of it may have been said out of frustration, some of it may have been actually true. I know I go out there and put it on the field every week whether I'm 90 percent or 100 percent (healthy). I'm going to put whatever I've got out there."
Haslett knows he'll get that from McAllister, but said the bruising 237-pounder needs to be more decisive hitting the hole than he was a year ago.
"He needs to use that big body and run through plays," Haslett said. "We'll run the ball a little bit more than last year, but that might mean Antowain (Smith) and Aaron Stecker will get more carries."
"He's the coach and I'm going to listen," he said. "It's criticism in a positive way. He has his outlook on plays and I'm going to have my outlook on plays, that's why I have to play my game
RE: McAllister stands on accelerator
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