Wednesday, 12 January 2011 07:53
Louisiana Sports: Reggie Bush, Gregg Williams, Saints, LSU, Les Miles
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Louisiana Sports: Stories about the New Orleans Saints, Reggie Bush, Gregg Williams, LSU and Les Miles.

The Saints want to structure a deal to knock Reggie Bush's salary cap figure down dramatically for 2011.

The 2011 season is the last on Bush's contract, and is scheduled to count a whopping $16 million against the salary cap, with $11.8 million coming in base salary, Another $1 million of that figure comes from the prorated renegotiation bonus Bush received when he restructured his contract in 2008.

If a labor agreement is reached, the Saints have a bunch of potential free agents they likely will try to re-sign. Bus's cap figure could make that difficult.

If the Saints decide to release Bush, he will count $4.2 million on the salary cap.

Saints coach Sean Payton is big admirer of Bush because of the versatility he presents to opposing defensive coordinators, but the coach understands the fiscal reality. Bush has missed 16 games because of injuries the past three seasons.

Bush has never lived up to the hype that came when he was  drafted No. 12 over-all, but Saints management will try to sign Bush to a contract extension to get his cap figure within reason based on his productivity.

Bush wants to remain with the Saints. "It's all part of negotiations and it's part of where you've got to sit down and hash it out," said Bush. "You have to come an agreement just like any business deal you do. It's something we'll have to work it out and come to an agreement on it, but I definitely want to be here and that's what's most important."

The Saints will also have to make a decision on whether or not to keep running back Pierre Thomas, who missed most of the season with a slow-healing ankle injury.

Thomas will be a free agent entering the upcoming season. "They told me they loved everything I've done for them and that they want me back," said Thomas of his relationship with the Saints.

When the Saints were short on linebackers because of injuries last season, they tried to trade him to New England for a defensive back. However, the Patriots wanted a Saints draft choice, too, which killed the deal.

Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams opted out of his scheduled interview for the head-coaching job with the Denver Broncos. He was scheduled to interview with the Broncos on Wednesday or Thursday morning.

Williams said he discussed the possible change with his family, players and friends and decided to stay in New  Orleans.

"I can't stand in front of the defensive team in its team meeting and say the things they need to do to win another Super Bowl and then get on a plane on Wednesday to interview at Denver," said Williams."I wouldn't have a clear conscious."

Les Miles

"The  reports of my departure are greatly exaggerated," LSU coach Les Miles joked while speaking at the American Coaches Association convention on Tuesday  in Dallas.

Miles will remain as LSU coach after meeting with Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon on Monday night in Baton Rouge, Twice Miles has been a candidate for the Michigan head-coaching job. Miles declined to say if the Michigan job was offered to him.

Michigan hired San Diego State coach Brady Hoke on Tuesday afternoon after Miles said he was staying at LSU.

It's the second time Miles has decided to remain at LSU instead of of returning to Michigan as coach. He was considered the front -runner to succeed Lloyd Carr in 2007 before announcing he would stay at LSU.

Miles' current contract pays him $3.75 million per year and runs through 2014. It includes an annual one-year rollover at the discretion of the athletic director that could extend the deal to 2015. The contract would also would make him among the highest-paid college coaches should he win a second national championship. Former LSU coach Nick Saban makes  $6 million a year at Alabama. Miles' current contract has more than $18 million in guarantees.

"I can tell you,when you when you're fortunate to be a part of a successful football program, you have great coaches, great players, great school to represent, when you win, as a byproduct of that, somebody comes after you and/or your assistant coaches, it kind of makes you kind of feel special," Miles told  a ballroom full of high school and college coaches. "You get kind of full of yourself, and you realize real quickly -- the phone rings, and the football operations guy says, 'Listen, you need to make up your mind what school you're going to coach at, because I got to get a picture for the camp brochure.' He said it's either you or the next guy."

As for staying at LSU, Miles told the media "the want and need to stand by your commitments to the team that I coach and the school that I represent really overshadowed any other consideration."

Like Miles told the media after announcing on television in 2007 that he was staying at LSU, "Have a nice day."

Miles said his 12-year-old son's sixth-grade class voted on whether or not they wanted Miles to stay at LSU.

"The voted to keep me," smiled Miles. The vote was 14 to 12."




Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


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