Journey hits Crossroads

NEW ORLEANS — Gaining the stability they have often pointed to as one of the keys to the team’s recent success, the New Orleans Saints have their head coach and general manager under contract for the next five seasons.

Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis received a five-year contract extension just before start of the 2012 regular season, which keeps him with the team along with coach Sean Payton through 2017.

Saints spokesman Greg Bensel confirmed Monday afternoon that Loomis, who also serves as executive vice president of the New Orleans Hornets, signed his deal in August 2012 before serving his eight-game bounty suspension.

Loomis successfully negotiated a new deal for Payton, which was announced on Jan. 10, to remain with the team after the original five-year extension Payton agreed to in 2011 was voided by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

That contract contained a clause that would have allowed Payton to walk away from the team if Loomis were to be fired or suspended. Fearing the contract would set a bad precedent around the league, Goodell rejected the deal.

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