August 3, 2011

Saints Move Practice to Welcome Veterans with New Contracts

Since the agreement on a new CBA, players with new contracts have been unable to practice with their teams.  Undrafted rookies and draft picks have been able to practice, but not players who were re-signed or added off the free agent market.

Sean Payton made a joke of this on Sunday, offering those players forced to stand on the sidelines "Shirley Temples," non-alcoholic cocktails in martini glasses for them to enjoy while their teammates sweated in the heat.  Payton even went so far as to move the team's huddle closer to the media, deliberately to catch the gag.

The relaxation is over for players as soon as the new CBA is technically ratified by the constituents of the newly-reconstituted NFL Players Association.  That vote should happen tomorrow, August 4, so teams around the league are scheduling their practices in the afternoons, to capitalize on practice time for new players.

Payton moved the Thursday scheduled practice into the evening and into the Saints' indoor training facility at their Metairie headquarters, meaning that the practice will not be open to the public.

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