Wednesday, 02 March 2011 14:52

New Orleans Saints: Shaun Rogers, Garrett Hartley, Drew Brees

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Ed Staton-Louisiana SportsThe Saints have signed free agent defensive tackle Shaun Rogers to a one-year deal, the team announced on Tuesday. The Saints also announced that after a season in which the team apparently considered getting rid of kicker Garrett Hartley, the Saints decided to keep him around, possibly for  a lot longer.

Hartley and the Saints have agreed to terms on a five-year deal. Hartley would have been a restricted free agent without the new deal. Terms are not yet known.

Rogers turned down about $6 million from another team to accept a deal with the Saints for less, a source with knowledge of the situation said on Tuesday.

The Saints announced via Twitter that they had agreed to a one-year deal with Rogers, a three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle. Rogers, 31, also visited Kansas City and Washington, and he had opportunities to see other teams, but he wanted to join the Saints. He is coming off the worst statistical season of his 10-year NFL career. He made just 17 tackles and had two sacks, both career lows, for the Cleveland Browns, who released him after the season.

Rogers was a second-round draft pick by Detroit in 2001, and made two Pro Bowls in seven seasons in Detroit. He signed with the Browns in 2007 and made the Pro Bowl again in 2008.

While the Redskins and Chiefs wanted him as a nose tackle for their 3-4 defenses, Rogers preferred the Saints for two reasons. The one-year deal will allow him to be a free agent after the season. Also, the Saints defense will play him in a 4-3 alignment, although defensive coordinator Gregg Williams switches into a three-man front line often.

The Saints made other moves on Tuesday, extending contract tenders to 10 players, most notably running back Pierre Thomas, Also tendered were nose tackle Remi Ayodele, offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod, defensive end Jeff Charleston, safeties Roman Harper and Usama Young, wide receiver Lance Moore, guard Carl Nix and tight end David Thomas.

Thomas will get plenty of looks. He has flashed good ability with the Saints, but with rookie Jimmy Graham poised to continue taking a prominent role at tight end, Thomas could end up finding a better value in the open market.

Former Packers GM Ron Wolf will be honored at a banquet on March 12 at the Windsor Court Hotel as the 22nd recipient of the Pete Rozelle Award, given each year to the person who has made outstanding contributions to professional football and the NFL, sponsored by the Touchdown Club of New Orleans. The club also announced the creation of a new award, the Board of Director's Award, which will go to Drew and Brittany Brees. The special award, which will not necessarily be an annual honor, will recognize significant contributions for the betterment of the quality of life in the community, support of the game of football and The Touchdown Club of New Orleans. Tickets are available by calling The Touchdown Club at (504) 242-4545

LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson ran an official time of 4.34 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the Combine on Tuesday, further solidifying his place among the top choices in the NFL draft in April. Although his time fell short of his stated goal of running in the 4.2s, his time was believed to be among the fastest of any prospect. Neither LSU offensive skill players running back Stevan Ridley or wide receiver Terrence Toliver was impressive in the 40-yard dash. Toliver barely scraped under the 4.6 barrier and Ridley fared even worse, coming in at 4.6 seconds. Ridley and Toliver, however, did dominate the 3-cone drill. Ridley's time was fourth-best among running backs and Toliver was third among wide receivers. Linebacker Kelvin Sheppard's 22 bench-press reps is somewhat disappointing, given that former USC kicker David Buehler cranked out 25 reps in 2009. In all, it was a so-so showing for so-so athletes. Toliver, Ridley and offensive tackle Joseph Barksdale didn't do anything to sink their draft status, but they won't be moving up into the top roiunds with those numbers, either...

SOME hither, others yon: You get an A+ as a trivia expert if you can guess correctly the name of the famous peanuts vendor at Pelicans games in old Pelican Stadium...For this week, Zephyrs Field has become Hound Dogs Park, home park of the minor-league Nashville Hound Dogs, who are opposing and beating the New Orleans Mud Fish in the stadium. The movie made for TV "Hound Dogs' is being filmed in the park this week. All of the signs on the outfield walls feature Nashville businesses...Trivia answer: Evolution was the famous peanuts vendor, who was quite a show himself..When is Vice-Presidents Day?....

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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. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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