February 4, 2007

Notes: Saints Begin Offseason; Team will play in Hall of Fame game, the first preseason game

Hall of Fame Game: The Saints will play in the annual Hall of Fame game in the opening weekend of preseason 2007 against the Steelers.

The game will be played on the neutral field on August 5 at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on the night of the Hall of Fame inauguration ceremonies.

Participating in the game gives the Saints' five preseason games, and their first nationally-televised appearance on the NFL Network. It will be their fourth appearance overall. The Saints and Steelers faced off in the game in 1983, when the Steelers defeated the Saints 27-14. It was Terry Bradshaw's last season, and the Bum Phillips-coached Saints committed six turnovers in the game. The Saints last played in the preseason opener in 1996, against the Colts. The Saints lost 10-3.

The Saints are represented in the Pro Football Hall of Fame by former players RB Jim Taylor, DE Doug Atkins, RB Earl Campbell, coach Hank Stram and former GM Jim Finks. None of those players spent the majority of their time in the league with the Saints.

Former Saint Rickey Jackson, his six Pro Bowls, six 10-sack seasons, 128 total sacks and 29 fumble recoveries remain out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Carmichael Stays: Instead of leaving the Saints and Sean Payton for Miami, quarterbacks coach Pete Carmichael Jr has withdrawn his name from consideration for a similar job on Cam Cameron's staff.

Carmichael worked in San Diego under Cameron before last season as the assistant receivers/offensive quality control coach. He was previously the quarterbacks coach at Louisiana Tech.

Ex-Saints in Super Bowl: Two former Saint draft picks were with the Bears in their Super Bowl loss. Bears reserve TE John Gilmore was a sixth round pick of the Saints in 2002, and 2006 6th round pick WR Mike Hass has been on the Bears' practice squad all season.

Reggie... Addai? Reggie Bush caught seven passes for 132 yards against the Bears, including an 88-yard TD. Colts RB Joseph Addai caught ten passes for 66 yards, and was used in a similar fashion. With the Bears' safeties playing so far back, it was the Colts' short game, like the Saints', that did the most damage against the Bears defense.

On Their Way To Hawaii: The Saints' coaching staff, and families, are headed to Hawaii to coach the NFC squad in the Pro Bowl. They will be joined by QB Drew Brees and DE Will Smith. LT Jammal Brown bowed out of the Pro Bowl due to injury earlier this week. The Saints staff added Tampa Bay TE Dave Moore as their need player, citing his long-snapping skills.

QB Drew Brees garnered the third-most Pro Bowl votes of all players in the league, 907,684, second only to Peyton Manning and LaDainian Tomlinson. Of rookies receiving votes, Marques Colston and Reggie Bush were numbers two and three behind only Bears KR Devin Hester.

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