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tiggerpolice 08-08-2005 08:00 AM

Deuce's venture pays off for Miss. fans
Deuce's venture pays off for Miss. fans



New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister - a Mississippi native - spearheaded a campaign to bring the Saints' annual Black and Gold Scrimmage to Jackson and provided the financial backing.

After a two-hour session, McAllister, who recently signed a $50 million contract, said he made a good investment.

A crowded of 10,282 fans showed up at the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium, McAllister promised to cover any deficit if ticket sales did not pay for the Saints trip.

"The money was well spent after seeing the smiles on the people faces tonight. This was probably the first time that many of them had ever seen a pro team live," said McAllister, who played at Ole Miss and hails from Lena, Miss. "Jackson is like a second home to me, so I try to do whatever I can to make the city look good."

The Saints feature five players with Mississippi ties on its roster.

Running back Fred McAfee, a Madison resident, was happy to be in front of a home crowd.

"The Saints are not just a New Orleans team, its regional and the crowd showed that tonight," McAfee said. "It was very important to give something back to the fans here because they supported me so well during my collegiate years."

McAfee played at Mississippi College.

McAllister didn't play long.

There were no serious injuries during the scrimmage. Free-agent acquisition Az-Zahir Hakim did twist his ankle during the workout. Hakim is in competition for third receiver behind Joe Horn and Donte' Stallworth.

Talmon Gardner, a third-year pro out of Florida State, who has injected his name into the mix for third receiver hauled in a touchdown during the scrimmage.

Besides McAfee and McAllister, who starred at the University of Mississippi, other players with Mississippi ties includes Joe Horn, who played at Itawamba Community college, and Fred Thomas, a native of Bruce.

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