NFL owners approve new rule: Players must stand for national anthem if they're on field

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Associated Press

ATLANTA -- NFL owners have approved a new policy aimed at addressing the firestorm over national anthem protests, permitting players to stay in the locker room during the "The Star-Spangled Banner" but requiring them to stand if they come to the field.

The decision was announced Wednesday by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the league's spring meeting in Atlanta.

In a sign that players were not part of the discussions, any violations of the policy would result in fines against the team — not the players. The NFL Players Association said it will challenge any part of the new policy that violates the collective bargaining agreement.

Full Article -- Advocate

Freeman chasing his dream

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By Kevin Eckleberry

His time as a Baltimore Raven was short-lived.

KeShun Freeman, the former Callaway Cavalier who recently completed his collegiate career at Georgia Tech, participated in a rookie mini-camp with the Baltimore Ravens.

Freeman made a positive impression and was offered a spot on the team, but his tenure with the Ravens lasted all of one day.

Unfazed, Freeman was invited to take part in the New Orleans Saints’ rookie mini-camp, and once again he was offered a place on the team.

This time, it looks like Freeman will be hanging around for a while.

Freeman has signed with the Saints, and he is in New Orleans this week participating in OTA offseason workouts as he works to earn a spot on the team’s 53-man roster for the regular season.

Full Article -- LaGrange Daily News

Bleacher Report: David Onyemata is Saints’ best-kept secret

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The New Orleans Saints have a stronger defensive line than might meet the eye.

By John Sigler

Bleacher Report’s Justis Mosqueda picked out a sleeper from all 32 rosters, including the New Orleans Saints. Characterized as a list of guys you don’t think about who maybe you should think about, Mosqueda went with Saints defensive lineman David Onyemata:

After the trade up for UTSA defensive end Marcus Davenport in 2018 draft, the New Orleans Saints will start three first-rounders on their defensive line this year. The open slot on their depth chart, nose tackle, includes a high-end sleeper: David Onyemata.

Onyemata was drafted in the fourth round in 2016 out of Canada’s University of Manitoba. Despite playing just 57 percent of New Orleans’ defensive snaps last year, virtually equal to Tyeler Davison (56...

Undrafted Saints rookie Taylor Stallworth spends personal time in kitchen

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By Amos Morale III

Taylor Stallworth spends most of his time on the gridiron trying to get to the opposing team backfield in a hurry. But the New Orleans Saints' undrafted rookie free agent out of South Carolina spends his personal time in the kitchen.

"I have a passion for cooking," Stallworth said. "I'm from the south. I'm from right around the corner, Mobile, Ala., so I know about all the crawfish and all that. But something that people don't know about me really nobody knows about me."

The 6-foot-2, 305-pound rookie said his specialty is pasta.

"I make my pasta from scratch though," he said. "I know how to make it from scratch and ravioli and all that so anything pasta wise is my go to... It's a nasty process but its worth it at the end though."

Full Article -- Picayune

Sean Payton says keeping Brandon Coleman ‘part of the plan’

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By James Parks

The New Orleans Saints underwent some profound change at the wide receiver position in the 2018 offseason, signing slot presence Cameron Meredith away from the Chicago Bears, letting Willie Snead go free to the Baltimore Ravens, and re-signing trusted reserve option Brandon Coleman.

Head coach Sean Payton says the retention of Coleman and the departure of Snead were not related, and that he expected that the organization would keep Coleman for what will be his fifth NFL season.

“It was part of the plan,” Payton said this offseason of Coleman’s signing. “I spoke to him [a week before he was signed]. He’s definitely someone that’s been important for us and will be important going into the season.”

Coleman entered the offseason as a restricted free agent, and was notably among the list of players who were not given a tender offer by the organization, but having an extra pair of hands for the league’s second best offense and his capacity as a run blocker were too attractive for the team to pass up...

See the logo New Orleans presenters will use for the '24-7 Super Bowl'

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By Larry Holder

ATLANTA -- Sometimes simple tells the story. The New Orleans diplomats stumping for Super Bowl 2024 hopes their slogan tells the story for the city and the event.

"NOLA 2024/7 Super Bowl" will be the theme of the Wednesday morning presentation spearheaded by the New Orleans Saints and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, including a simple, yet sharp logo.

"We always kind of have fun with the bid themes," said Sam Joffray, vice president of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation. "This time, we wanted to just say 'NOLA 2024,' but for some reason as we were working on our presentation videos and realizing that we're a 24-hour city.

"We want to make this a 24-7 Super Bowl."

Full Article -- Picayune

New Orleans looks to host Super Bowl in 2024

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NEW ORLEANS — The NFL is on the verge of returning the Super Bowl to New Orleans.

The league has been negotiating with the Crescent City for six months, inviting it to make a presentation to host the 2024 Super Bowl in front of the league owners Wednesday in Atlanta.

The presentation is part of a new format in which the NFL asks one city to negotiate to be the site of a specific Super Bowl rather than having multiple cities compete for individual games. New Orleans, which last hosted a Super Bowl in 2013, lost out in its last two bids under the old format.

Minneapolis was chosen to host the 2018 Super Bowl, and Atlanta was chosen to host the 2019 Super Bowl. Both of those cities were rewarded for building new stadiums.

Saints coach Sean Payton was informed of New Orleans’ opportunity to make a presentation shortly before he teed off in the Saints Hall of Fame golf tournament on Monday morning at Bayou Oaks.

Full Article -- Iberian

Five 2016 NFL first-round picks that will break out in 2018

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By Lance Zierlein

Some players selected in the first round of the NFL draft live up to their billing, or even exceed already high expectations, right away. Marshon Lattimore and Deshaun Watson did exactly that as rookies last season. However, the norm is for players to begin at a much more modest rate as they learn their craft and continue to grow. In fact, sometimes it takes a couple seasons before a player starts to realize his potential, as we saw last season with 2015 first-rounders like Nelson Agholor and Trae Waynes making a jump as third-year veterans.

Here are five first-round picks from the 2016 draft that I expect to take a big leap forward as third-year players in 2018.

Sheldon Rankins, DT, New Orleans Saints

Rankins, the 12th pick of the 2016 draft, missed a chunk of his rookie season with a broken fibula he suffered during a preseason practice. He still managed to collect four sacks in nine games played, though. In 2017, Rankins started every game, showing good consistency and disruptiveness, but...

Carolina Panthers offense revived with new weapons

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by Cody Smith

By the end of the 2017 NFL season, the Carolina Panthers offense went into the Wild Card playoff game against an explosive New Orleans Saints team with virtually no weapons. Some of those “weapons” consisted of Jonathan Stewart, Kaelin Clay, Brenton Bersin, and Russel Shepard. But just like the 2017 NFL season, those weapons are in the past, as none of them were brought back for this upcoming season. As the 2018 season gets underway in the next couple of months, the Panthers have reshaped their offense from top to bottom.

It all started when head coach Ron Rivera brought in longtime friend, Norv Turner to become the new offensive coordinator this offseason. Even though Turner hasn’t coached since 2016, after he abruptly resigned from the Minnesota Vikings in the middle of the season. He will look to bring a new dynamic to Panther’s franchise quarterback Cam Newton. Not to mention the new plethora of weapons Newton will be able to use this upcoming season. The offseason additions of Torrey Smith, Jarius Wright, C.J. Anderson, as well as rookies D.J. Moore and Ian Thomas will surely help the offense improve.

Full Article --...

Mark Ingram to lose $1 million in NFL imposed suspension

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By James Parks

Mark Ingram was suspended for the first four games of the 2018 regular season after the National Football League determined the running back had violated their performance enhancing drugs policy, depriving the New Orleans Saints of one half of what last season was the league’s best scoring running back duo.

Not only with Ingram’s absence cost a great deal to the Saints’ chances to repeat as NFC South champions and as the NFL’s most productive backfield, but the suspension will also have a great personal financial cost to the player himself.

Originally set to earn a base salary of $4 million to play in the 2018 season, by virtue of his being absent for a full quarter of the regular season, Ingram will also lose approximately $1 million in money. According to Spotrac’s calculations, the entire amount runs up to $1.27 million when counting for salary and bonuses.

Full Article -- 247 Sports

Saints bring back offensive lineman Josh LeRibeus on new deal

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By Joel Erickson -- Advocate

A veteran offensive lineman who saw plenty of action on the Saints' offensive line last season will be back in New Orleans this summer.

New Orleans brought back Josh LeRibeus on Monday, according to the NFL's transactions wire.

LeRibeus, a six-year veteran who joined the Saints last season after opening his career in Washington, played 218 snaps for New Orleans last fall.

Full Article -- Advocate

Ranking the 10 greatest NFL teams of the past 10 years

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By Kevin Boilard

Every NFL season, there are several great teams. Only the greatest of those teams, however, are remembered when the next season rolls around. As time goes by, fans typically forget about the teams that fell short of expectations and focus on the teams that captured our undivided attention.

This slideshow will highlight the 10 greatest teams of the past 10 years (2008-2017). Regardless of whether they won the Super Bowl (or even made it that far), all the teams on this list are still remembered today for their greatness. Of the 10 teams on this list, five won the Super Bowl, three lost the Super Bowl and two did not even make it to the Super Bowl.

While pouring over this slideshow, you will read about dominant defensive squads and outstanding offensive squads. You will find plenty of balanced teams, led by quarterbacks who performed at extremely high levels. Only the best of the best will be features.

Scroll through this list and let us know in the comments which of these teams was actually the greatest.

Full Article -- 247 Sports

Mark Ingram headlines Saints players in final year of contract

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Here is a list of the Saints’ free agents in 2019, according to Spotrac.

Mark Ingram, RB. The Saints’ lead back turned 28 back in December and has one year left on his contract. Used sparingly early in his career, Ingram enjoys relatively good health for a back hist age as a result. This offseason, however, the NFL suspended Ingram for four games to begin the season, which could put a major damper on his eventual production as he pursues a new contract. 2018 Salary: $4 million

Manti Te’o, LB. The veteran linebacker came to New Orleans last offseason and was an immediate aid for the Saints’ front seven in his initial year with the club, serving primarily as a run defender. While the team wants to get younger here, they could make room for Te’o. 2018 Salary: $1.7 million

Full Article -- 247 Sports

Dez Bryant should be no passing fancy for Super Bowl-minded New Orleans Saints

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Special to the Sun Herald

NEW ORLEANS - Thirty years ago, the New Orleans Saints selected University of Pittsburgh running back Craig "Ironhead'' Heyward in the first round of the 1988 NFL draft. At age 21, he was built like a bull, full of bull(...) and overtly bullish about his ability.

Oh yes, Heyward also was trouble waiting to happen.

Heyward died May 27, 2006, at the age of 39 after a colorful, hit-and-miss 11-year career with five NFL teams.

His best years came in Atlanta where he produced his only 1,000-yard season (1995) and scored 19 touchdowns in three seasons (1994-'96).

Heyward brought baggage with him to New Orleans, most notably weight and behavioral problems that followed him from Pitt. That said, Heyward's physical prowess -- he was a nightmare to tackle at 325-plus pounds and possessed nimble feet and deceptive speed -- made him an attractive pick at No. 24.

Full Article -- Sun Herald

Why the New Orleans Saints Could Win it All, Part III: Wide Receivers

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Cam Meredith and Tre’Quan Smith bring even more size and speed to the group of Saints wideouts.

By Chris Dunnells

The New Orleans Saints Wide Receivers were led by Michael Thomas, who continues to show he’s one of the better young receivers in the league. While he didn’t match his touchdown total from the year before (dropping from 9 to 5), he did set career highs in catches (104) and receiving yards (1,245). Joining him was the resurgence of Ted Ginn Jr., who stepped up in a big way, coming three yards short of the highest total in his 11 year career (787). He blew past his previous career high catch rate of 60.2% in 2008 with a whopping 75.7% in New Orleans in 2018.

Willie Snead was virtually nonexistent in the passing attack for New Orleans after serving an early suspension, finishing the year with only 92 total yards on the season. Tommylee Lewis actually beat Snead’s...

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