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saintz08 08-17-2005 11:04 PM

Saints looking to run over foes
Saints looking to run over foes

METAIRIE, La. -- In a far corner of the New Orleans Saints' locker room, just to the side of the stall occupied by left offensive tackle Wayne Gandy, a soft, leather rocker/recliner sits rather incongruously. When the 12-year veteran signed as an unrestricted free agent in 2003, he purchased the recliner so that he could bag the occasional nap between practices or simply rest his weary bones following a long and arduous day.

So no, there is no truth to the rumors that management installed the chair as a not-so-subtle suggestion that it might be time for Gandy, 35, to begin seriously planning for his post-football career.

Although, given the purported events of the offseason, Gandy wondered if the franchise still wanted him around.

While team officials disagree with the contention, agent Neil Schwartz feels the Saints tried to force his client to accept a salary reduction from his scheduled $5.25 million. And according to Schwartz, team officials sought to have Gandy attend the offseason sessions he regularly skips, because they felt they were important to team unity. All this despite the fact Gandy is a veteran who has organized team outings, promoted camaraderie and played at a level that earned him blocking grades of 93 percent or higher in all but one of 16 games last season.

“ I'm convinced that this year, we're going to do more than just pay lip service to the running game. I think the commitment really is there. People see how we won last [December], when it all came together for us. We had the kind of consistency that we lacked in the past.�
—RB Deuce McAllister

Gandy received the support of teammates and a particularly strong public endorsement from quarterback Aaron Brooks, and his contract remains unchanged. But what became moot has now been transformed into motivation for Gandy, a quiet but well-spoken man who is proud of the résumé he has compiled in 168 career starts.

"It was a little bit of a slap in the face," Gandy said earlier this week after a sweltering practice session. "But you know what? It's not a sore point anymore with me. I'm just using it as motivation. Sometimes a little more motivation does a man good. And they've given me that little bit more, that's all. But then, I think everyone in this room is pretty motivated this year."

Nothing will drive a team quite so much as potential unfulfilled, and the Saints, who have not been to the playoffs for four straight seasons, rate as one of the NFL's most notorious underachieving squads in that stretch. Management has tried just about every tack here and the results keep coming up the same. A year ago when we visited, the front office had initiated a set of rules that precluded players from having food or cell phones in the locker room. The changes hardly promulgated success as New Orleans lost eight of its first dozen outings.

One veteran noted this week that, having run out of ideas for new rules, management has assumed a new approach. Said that veteran: "They've kind of appealed to our pride and, so far, it's working. Bottom line, we're tired of losing around here."

WhoDat 08-18-2005 09:30 AM

RE: Saints looking to run over foes
Tisk, tisk. Already posted 08. Don't you know the rules?

Tiggerpolice posts everything. Pretty much every other member of this board can just stop posting news b/c TP post 45 articels a day.

TheGambler 08-18-2005 10:42 AM

Well, I'd rather see 1 person posting ALL the news.......than 10 people posting just some of the news...

Things could be much worse. Keep rockin' Tigs.

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