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Goodell not welcome; New Orleans Saints lacks responsibility, Ruud needed

goodellIt is now obvious that Roger Goodell will not have a good welcoming come Super Bowl Sunday 2013.
Goodell could not have picked a worse time to punish a team than he has done with the New Orleans Saints and in particular Jonathan Vilma.
Goodell is not welcome in Vilma’s eatery. The city of New Orleans hosts the Super Bowl and presumably, should the Saints not make it to the land of NFL glory this year, the NFL and Goodell could be blamed for their fate.

 


But, perhaps we are moving too fast on this. Let’s take a look at how one victim or perpetrator is taking the bounty blame.
There are times when I wonder if the discord between the NFL and the New Orleans Saints could have been solved with a nice long lunch, a plate of po'-boys, and a couple of beignets each for everyone.
Of course, with Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma suing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for defamation after Goodell's very public statements regarding the reasoning behind the suspensions of Vilma and several current and former members of the Saints organization, that's most likely not going to happen.
And it's really not going to happen at Brother Jimmy's BBQ in Miami, which is co-owned by Vilma, with Denver Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams and Carolina Panthers linebacker Jon Beason on board as well. All three players are University of Miami alums, and Williams is also facing a six-game suspension to start the 2012 after failing two NFL-mandated drug tests.
The sign above, posted in the front window of Brother Jimmy's, can also be found along the front of the restaurant and inside the dining room. USA Today confirmed with a restaurant employee that the signs are indeed all over the joint.

 

Gleason

ESPN, the same publication that some are questioning whether they have it out for the Saints after what seems to be erroneous allegations about an eavesdropping operation has just posted that the New Orleans Saints need to take responsibility.
The article said in part, “Thank you, Steve Gleason, for at least providing some sensible perspective on the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal that has rocked the NFL. You said something that should've been stated months ago. You gave credence to the fact that the team's bounty program shouldn't have been so easily dismissed by current players. You also did something that shouldn't be underestimated: You showed that it's OK for somebody tied to that team to take issue with how the Saints conducted business.

Lofton

Saints middle linebacker Curtis Lofton says he'll be ready for the regular-season opener, but that's really doubtful.

Lofton has a high ankle sprain and that injury can drag on longer than a player would like. So the Saints traded an undisclosed draft choice to Seattle for veteran Barrett Rund, who arrived at the Saints facility on Tuesday, and the eight-year veteran will join the team on the practice field on Wednesday.

Before his time with the Seahawks, Ruud spent extended time with Tampa Bay (2005-10) and one season with Tennessee (2011).

In less than two quarters in the Saints' loss to the Jaguars last Friday night, they lost three high-profile linebackers with injuries: Lofton, David Hawthorne (meniscus) and Chris Chamberlain (ACL). Chamberlain was placed on injured reserve and his season is over.

The Saints are excited about having Rudd joining their team.

Tackle Jermon Bushrod remembers seeing Rudd often when the former Nebraska linebacker played for NFC rival Tampa Bay. Bushrod may not have been assigned to block Rudd very often, but his skills on the field left an impression with the Pro Bowl tackle.

"I definitely know the type of player her is," said Bushrod. "He's a good, hard-nosed and quick player. We are definitely excited about him being part of our team."
Saints interim coach Joe Vitt cited that Ruud has played at a high level in his time in the NFL, including experience on some of the top defenses in the league.

He's 29 years old, so he still has a lot of football ahead of him," said Vitt, who also coaches Saints linebackers. "We will introduce him to our system and see where he can get to by this weekend."

Scott Shanle, a college teammate of Rudd at Nebraska, said he is a "heck of a football player and has great instincts.

"I talked to him last night and he is excited to be here," said Shanle. "You can bring a guy in who is a proven player and now it just comes down to cramming and learning the defensive playbook. You don't have to worry about getting him acclimated to the NFL."

Along with Ruud, linebackers Will Herring, Lawrence Wilson and Jonathan Casillas are all expected to step up this week for the Saints' game against the Texans on Saturday night.

"We have a lot of capable guys to step in and fill the shoes," said Herring. "When a man goes down, it is an opportunity for the next man to step up. Everybody here is a professional and we expect the next man to step in and fill the void."

Saints quarterback Drew Brees said, "the guys that are healthy have to pick up the slack."

Defensive end Turk McBride and running back Darren Sproles returned to practice Tuesday after missing time with injuries.

(The Saints media department contributed to this feature).

SOME hither, others yon: The second annual Home Runs for Kids Celebrity Softball game hosted by Saints WR Lance Moore and former S Darren Sharper will be on Sunday at Zephyrs Field. The family fun fest is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the softball game beginning at 5 p.m. Donations will go to the American Cancer Society, Lance Moore Community Care Program, Blood Center of Louisiana, Get Check In or Check Out (non-profit) and the Sharper Kids Foundation. For info call (504) 305-7563...

The Saints are favored by 9 1/2 points over the Redskins in the season opener...Colts rookie Andrew Luck's rough sketch of Lucas Oil Stadium sold for $1,500 on eBay... LSU DE Sam Montgomery owes Tigers DE Barkevious Mingo a car wash because of a bet they had in the spring game over who would make the first sack. Mingo, who got the first sack, said Montgomery hasn't paid up five months later...Dave Miller of nationalfootballpost.com predicts LSU (BCS 1) will oppose Oklahoma BCS 2) in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 7 in Miami...

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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.  

 

Website: www.louisianasportstalk.com
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