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Big decisions await Saints in offseason: Will Teddy Bridgewater, Mark Ingram be back next season?

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Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD

By Nick Underhill | The Advocate

MOBILE, Ala. — The New Orleans Saints spent a third-round pick to get a closer look at Teddy Bridgewater this season.

If the team likes what it saw in the quarterback, and the reviews from his teammates were all positive throughout the season, one of the things it has to figure out in the coming months is how much it is willing to invest in one position.

Drew Brees isn’t cheap, and Bridgewater should field some very competitive offers this offseason if he reaches the open market.

But the thing is, the Saints aren’t looking at it through such a rigid prism.

“I never looked at it that way,” general manager Mickey Loomis said. “We don’t sit up on the board and allocate 'X' percent, position by position. We just don’t do that. We’re aware of where the buckets lay with teams, but it is so influenced by your draft picks and who is playing well at that those low-cost numbers. ...

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Mickey Loomis expects Saints to ‘get stronger’ after devastating NFC Championship loss

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(David Grunfeld, | The Times-Picayune)

By Josh Katzenstein, | The Times-Picayune

MOBILE, Ala. — Mickey Loomis didn’t want to discuss the missed pass interference call from the NFC Championship game.

The New Orleans Saints general manager said he’s standing behind team owner Gayle Benson’s statement Monday about the officiating error, in which she said she “will aggressively pursue changes in NFL policies to ensure no team and fan base is ever put in a similar position again.”

Loomis, meeting with New Orleans media Wednesday morning at a hotel in Mobile, Ala., said the Saints had not heard anything from the NFL beyond the team’s conversations with Senior Vice President of Officiating Alberto Riveron immediately after the game last Sunday.

“It’s not frustrating,” Loomis said of the lack of communication from the league. “It is what it is.”

Now, the Saints must find a way to overcome the emotional toll of last Sunday’s loss, and Loomis is confident they will. ...

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Saints GM Mickey Loomis on that missed call: 'It goes under the category of life ain't fair'

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Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK

By Rod Walker | The Advocate

MOBILE, Ala. — Mickey Loomis would much rather his team be preparing for a Super Bowl this week.

Instead, the Saints executive vice president and general manager is in Alabama for the Senior Bowl, a showcase of the nation's top college football players.

But for Loomis, three days removed from the Saints' heartbreaking and controversial loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC championship game, it's a much-needed getaway.

"I had to get over here for my mental state," Loomis said.

He admits there have been some sleepless nights since the season ended Sunday, thanks mostly to the no-call on what should have been a pass interference against Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman on Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis in the final two minutes of regulation. ...

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Jon Gruden knows what Sean Payton is going through; ‘You don’t ever get over that’

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(Mike Kittrell/ (Mike Kittrell)

By Christopher Dabe - | The Times-Picayune

One day after the New Orleans Saints' NFC championship loss, coach Sean Payton heard from an old friend who knows what he’s going through.

Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden was on the losing end of a controversial call by a referee in a 2002 playoff game that let the New England Patriots advance in the playoffs and ultimately win a Super Bowl.

Speaking to reporters at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, on Tuesday (Jan. 22), Gruden described a phone call he had with Payton on Monday.

“If you really want to dwell on it, you don’t ever get over that,” Gruden said. “It’s the last time that team will ever be together. It’ll never be the same. Those guys fought as long and hard as they could. And it’ll sting forever.” ...

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New Orleans bars, restaurants hosting #boycottsuperbowl parties

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Photo by Michael DeMocker, | The Times-Picayune

By Ann Maloney - | The Times-Picayune

New Orleans Saints fans who want to relive the glory days of Super Bowl XLIV rather than bear witness to this year’s gridiron contest between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots are in luck.

New Orleans area bars and restaurants are hosting anti-Super Bowl parties on Feb. 3 in response to what sports writer Jeff Duncan described as “one of the most egregious non-calls in NFL history.”

Super Bowl Sundays typically are big-business days at bars and restaurants. Since Sunday night (Jan. 20), however, Saints fans' attention has been on that one play. They have watched replays and studied photos of the moment, late in the NFC Championship game, in which Los Angeles Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman took down New Orleans Saint Tommylee Lewis.

The lack of a pass-interference penalty on that play, Duncan said, “gave the Rams the life they needed to stage a comeback, and they took advantage of it, completing a stunning rally with a 26-23 victory on Greg Zuerlein’s game-winning 57-yard field goal in overtime.” ...

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Come out of hiding, Commissioner Goodell

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(AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

By The Times-Picayune Editorial Board

Three days after referees blew a blatant pass interference call and robbed the New Orleans Saints of a return trip to the Super Bowl, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said nothing publicly.

A league official admitted to Coach Sean Payton almost immediately Sunday night that the officiating crew blew the call on the goal line that would have set the Saints up to run down the clock and make a winning score.

At his post-game press conference, Coach Payton said NFL senior vice president of officiating Alberto Riveron called to admit the costly error at the end of regulation in the NFC Championship against the Rams. “Just getting off the phone with the league office, they blew the call,” Coach Payton said. ...

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Saints' P.J. Williams was driving 80 mph in a 50 mph zone before DWI arrest: NOPD

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(booking photo via Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office) (courtesy)

By Christopher Dabe - | The Times-Picayune

New Orleans Saints defensive back P.J. Williams was arrested overnight on a drunk-driving charge after New Orleans police say he was driving 30 mph over the speed limit along the Crescent City Connection bridge.

NOPD spokesman Aaron Looney said officers were driving on the bridge when they spotted a car doing 80 mph in a 50 mph zone. They stopped the car at Camp Street and Andrew Higgins Boulevard, at which time Williams refused a breath test, Looney said. Police booked Williams shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday (Jan. 23) on charges including driving while intoxicated, speeding, improper lane usage, careless driving and failure to use a turn signal.

Williams, 25, had a DUI arrest before the Saints selected him in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Florida State, according to a Tallahassee Democrat report in 2015. And in 2014, a New York Times report said he was driving on a suspended license when he was involved in a car crash that police in Tallahassee originally classified as a hit and run, but later issued Williams two traffic tickets. ...

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Lafayette attorneys take legal action over Saints no-call

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By AP - Louisiana News |

Two Lafayette attorneys sent a letter Monday to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, calling on him to enforce the rules.

The lawyers also want Goodell to enforce Rule 17, which has been brought up because some believe it would allow the NFL commissioner to reverse the results of the game.

A New Orleans attorney said he will also file suit on Tuesday.

Click thumbnail to expand. ...

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Saints’ Terron Armstead, Max Unger also to sit out Pro Bowl

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(Photo by Michael DeMocker, | The Times-Picayune)

By Christopher Dabe - | The Times-Picayune

Four of the five New Orleans Saints players selected to the Pro Bowl will not play in the annual all-star game Sunday (Jan. 27) in Orlando, Florida.

Left tackle Terron Armstead and center Max Unger are being replaced by two Chicago Bears players — left tackle Charles Leno and center Cody Whitehair, according to a release from the Bears.

Drew Brees and Michael Thomas also are sitting out the game and are being replaced by the Dallas Cowboys' Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper.

Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan said Monday he planned to play.

It’s not uncommon for players from teams that lose in the conference championship round to sit out the game. Armstead could need offseason surgery after he missed six games with a torn pectoral muscle and returned for the postseason. ...

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