April 26, 2012

Loomis Totes the Line in Pre-Draft Press Conference

Loomis began his pre-draft press conference by pointing out that many of his friends in and around the NFL had called and texted him wishing support in the latest of the Saints' scandals.

On the topic of the unannounced player suspensions pending from the Saints' bounty scandal, "I think we're better off drafting as if we didn't know there were suspensions... I don't want to be clouded by the short-term impact of a penalty.  We'll respect the decision [of the commissioner]. We'll support our players, and we'll see what happens."

Loomis said he was angry about the eavesdropping report and again vehemently denied, stating that he'd never listened in on opponent communications in the Superdome or any other stadium.  He said he welcomes law enforcement investigation of the issue, a moot suggestion, since multiple law enforcement agencies are already on the job. “I wouldn’t accuse someone unless I was absolutely sure and unfortunately, I didn’t get that same consideration from the reporter at ESPN."  He said he did not know his accuser.

Loomis argued that the team wasn't unstable, and pointed to the free agents that signed with the team after the bounty scandal news broke.   Loomis joked that his team was becoming the "Evil Empire," a reference to US President Ronald Reagan's description of the Soviet Union during the Cold War.  Loomis said that RB Mark Ingram is the Saints' first round pick in 2012, "we just got him earlier than most teams."

On the topic of unsigned QB Drew Brees, Loomis joked that it would be quite a first round pick for the Saints to announce that tonight, but gave no inclination that he the signing was imminent.  He reiterated that Brees had "earned the right" to negotiate his contract, and stated that "it will get done."  It would be a welcome breath of positive news for Saints fans, but the "invaluable" Brees holds all the leverage.  Loomis said that he has the unfortunate job of putting a value on Brees, whom he considers a friend.

When asked about the interim head coach for weeks one through seven when Joe Vitt is unavailable, "We're going to let the offseason unfold and let training camp unfold and we're going to let the process reveal" the right candidate, noting that the team had a lot of options.

Loomis said that Bill Parcells took himself out of the process before they had made a decision on interim head coach, and that Loomis respects him for not being a "half-in, half-out" guy.

Who replaces Mickey Loomis during his eight week suspension?  "Maybe [Saints VP of PR] Greg Bensel," Loomis awkardly joked.  Then seriously, "I think most of the work I have is done by that first regular season game.  What we've got is a great staff.. Ryan Pace, Rick Reiprish, and Khai Harley...  They've been with us for a while and they know how I think.  I know they can absorb the duties and make great decisions."

ESPN countered Loomis immediately by saying that law enforcement was involved in the investigation of wire-tapping before Outside the Lines broke the wire tapping story earlier this week.  Chris Mortensen said the network stands by their story and the reporter that broke the story, John Barr.

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