Wednesday, 08 June 2011 14:56

New Orleans Saints Could Be Sharper If NFL Lockout Deal Reached; Bush, Heisman

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Drew BreesThere are multiple sources reporting a deal could be reached between the NFL owners and players before the Eighth Circuit issues a ruling on the lockout likely in July.

The talks are delicate and a settlement hinges on keeping the attorneys out of the negotiating room.'s Peter King backs the reports while making it clear that a deal is no sure thing.  "But I'm more optimistic about a settlement than I've been in a while," said King.

Tom Brady, whose name headlines the anti-trust lawsuit against the NFL, is "relatively confident" that a deal will be struck.

Free agent fullback Heath Evans said he'd like to play for the Patriots if the Saints don't re-sign him.

"New Orleans is the place where I'd like to go back to, with the Patriots second after that," said the 10-year veteran. "So much of what we did in New Orleans is a lot like New England," added Evans. "I love Sean Payton because he said, 'Hell yeah, I want to form my organization after New England." Evans played for the Patriots before coming to the Saints.

Veteran free agent safety Darren Sharper said that not playing this season, his 15th, is not an option for him. Like any sharp free agent, Sharper said he's open to playing elsewhere although if he has a choice, he'd prefer to return to the Saints.

Sharper, 35, is among a minority of players the NFL lockout is helping rather than hurting.

The lockout has afforded Sharper, who underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee last offseason, time to get his body right while discussing his health and desire to play this season.

"Having the time off helps your body recover and heal," said Sharper. "I feel refreshed. The body feels like it did presurgery when I was healthy. The lockout is going to enable me to have a very productive season."

Sharper said if the lockout goes on much longer, it doesn't matter to him.

"As long as we have football this season, I'll be ready to play," said Sharper. "I'll be working out and I'll get myself in the shape I usually would. If there's no training camp, I'll just extend that time another month."

Reggie Bush still hasn't coughed up his Heisman Trophy.

On Monday, the BCS stripped USC of its 2004 national title. The Trojans however, are still the AP national champions for that season. The move represents the school's consequences for the money-and-or-things-of value transactions that rendered former Trojans running back Bush ineligible.

Last year, Bush decided to give up his 2005 Heisman Trophy under clear threat that it would have been taken from him involuntarily. Although USC had packed up its version of the trophy and sent it back to the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City, Bush apparently hasn't.

Paul Pabst of The Dan Patrick Show writes that Bush's version of the award has not yet its way back to Manhattan.

Paul explains that Bush's trophy had been on display at the San Diego Hall of Champions. Bush's hometown is San Diego. After the decision was made that the trophy be returned,

Reggie Bush's dad came in right after and took it," a member of the management at the San Diego Hall of Champions told Pabst. "That's the last we saw of it."

The folks at the Downtown Athletic Club apparently have made no effort to force the issue, and possibly never will. And perhaps Bush never intended to give up the hardware itself.

Had I been Bush's adviser, I would have told him to offer to send the trophy back. And it I was the athletic club's adviser, I'd advise them to tell Bush he could keep it. That way most, everyone would be happy.

Don't feel sorry for USC, the BCS or Reggie Bush and the other Trojans. The BSC took away USC's 2004 championship but college football really doesn't have a true champion. Years ago, some writers and media types crowed the champion. Now a computer joins the voters in determining who plays in the championship game. Either way, the championship isn't sole determined by competition, but by fairy tales and magic carpets.  Reggie Bush? His name has been muddied, but he'll try to wipe his tears away with the millions he has gotten and will continue to get in the NFL. The USC players believe they are still champions. Rules were broken, but no one cheated, Cheated the system? Maybe, but that football team won the title. It's hard to feel sorry for anyone in the system. So don't bother...

NFL Network's series "The Top 100 Players of 2011" will unveil players 41 to 31 this Sunday. Two more Saints are scheduled to make an appearance somewhere in the top 40, middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma and right guard Jahri Evans. Drew Brees present Vilma and Sean Payton will present Evans. Two weeks ago the Saints finally were represented with wide receiver Marques Colston and left guard Carl Nicks. In 2010, Evans was re-signed to a seven-year, $56.7 million contract extension making him the highest paid right guard in the NFL still to this day. Evans has started every game since being drafted, now having started 80 straight games. That's the most for a Saints offensive lineman to begin his career and second-most in the history of the Saints;. However, Nicks had the better season in 2010 because he was charged with too many penalties...Another parting thought: "I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father."

Saints linebacker Stanley Arnoux is looking to retrieve his Super Bowl ring, stolen while he was parked at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami. Upon retrieving his car from valet, he reported to police the absence of his ring was in the center console of the car....Peyton Manning's second neck surgery recovery in two seasons is not "really going as quickly" as hoped, according to his dad, Archie. But Archie believes Peyton will be ready for the season even if the lockout ends. The original timetable on this type of surgery is 6-8 weeks. Peyton probably wishes his dad didn't say so much...

With Gus Johnson leaving for FOX, CBS needed a new play-by-play guys for its NFL coverage, so they hired Marv Albert, one of the best working play-by-play announcers. He performed play-by-play duties for NFL games on NBC for 19 years and has been handling play-by-play for Monday Night Football on Westwood One radio, with Boomer Esiason. Albert also handles NBA games for TNT. Albert has had a strong second act to his career in the years after and unfortunate incident that, for whatever reason, never gets mentioned...
Andy Staples of has ranked the best college football coaching jobs in the country. LSU edged Alabama for No. 6 because of only one factor: Alabama must fight Auburn for the best recruits in Alabama. LSU has to fight no one in talent-rich Louisiana, except when out-of-state schools occasionally try to sign a few Louisiana prospects, but kids growing  up in Louisiana want to be Tigers. Other than that, LSU and Alabama are about the same. Both programs rake in cash and play in massive stadiums before deafening crowds. And, in both places, if the coach can't get his team in the  hunt for a national championship title every season, fans will start clamoring for a coach who will...Staples' top 10 college coaching jobs: 1) Texas  2) Ohio State 3) Oklahoma   4) Florida   5) Georgia  6) LSU  7) Alabama  8) Penn State  9) Auburn  10) Oregon...

The Tampa media has already fallen in love with Mikie Mahtook, the Rays' first-round draft choice from LSU. "How do you not like a baseball player named Mikie Mahtook?" asked's Joey Johnston. "Doesn't he sound like the sort of scrapper who will hustle, dive for balls or crash into the wall?
He's all that and more." The Rays already love the look of Mahtook, the LSU outfielder and middleman of Tampa Bay's three- first-round selections on Monday. "I do like the name," Rays scouting director R.J. Harrison told "I do like the player." For the record, the player's name is pronounced Mike-eee MAH-took. He'll get more than a $1 million bonus for signing...Parting thought: "I'll give you a definite maybe."...

by Ed Staton

Order LSU jerseys at Louisiana Sports


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