Saints add Tyrone Ezell, Marcus Thompson; waive Cheta Ozougwu

(source: AP)

The Saints continued the tweaks to their training camp roster Tuesday, signing a pair of undrafted rookies at the positions of nose tackle and outside linebacker while waiving a player they had put on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list Monday. The new Saints players are Tyrone Ezell — a nose tackle out of the University … Continue reading →

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Drew Brees ranks No. 14 in NFL merchandise sales

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) throws at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility in Metairie, La. Tuesday, June 10, 2014.

New Orleans All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham may have dominated NFL news headlines while negotiating the four-year, $40 million contract extension he received earlier this month, but it’s the man throwing him the ball who’s still moving the most official Saints merchandise. … Continue reading →

Byrd ready to fly after back surgery

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Newly signed New Orleans Saints safety Jairus Byrd answers questions from reporters from Harahan Elementary School in Harahan, La. Wednesday, April 16, 2014.

It appears the prize of the New Orleans Saints’ free-agent class will be available for the start of training camp. Safety Jairus Byrd is on schedule in his recovery from March back surgery and is expected to be available when practices begin Friday at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, a source confirmed. It is not currently … Continue reading →

Saints tweak roster for camp

After missing offseason practices, Saints nose tackle John Jenkins and outside linebacker Cheta Ozougwu appeared on the physically unable to perform list Monday, three days before their team reports to training camp in West Virginia on Thursday. Meanwhile, first-year tackle Tavon Rooks — a sixth-round pick in May — landed on the nonfootball injury list, and undrafted rookie defensive … Continue reading →

Jenkins, Ozougwu to begin Saints training camp on PUP list

The Saints' John Jenkins (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Saints nose tackle John Jenkins and linebacker Cheta Ozougwu will begin training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, according to the NFL transaction wire. Jenkins missed all offseason practices and minicamp with a pectoral injury. Ozougwu missed the workouts for undisclosed reasons. Meanwhile, rookie Saints offensive tackle Tavon Rooks will begin camp on nonfootball injury list. Defensive tackle Moses … Continue reading →

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New Orleans Saints 2014 training camp preview

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Saints head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan

After an action-packed offseason, the Saints believe they’re built to beat anyone in the NFL. But loading up on talent is only half the process. The rest begins when the Saints report to training camp Thursday in West Virginia, and things must get off to a good start if they want a fifth trip to … Continue reading →

Ed Reed, James Harrison among names on NFL’s unemployment line

FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2013, file photo, New York Jets safety Ed Reed follows the action during the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Md. With NFL training camps about to open around the league in a few days, several big-name players such as Reed and James Harrison are still unemployed. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

NEW YORK — Missing: A handful of former NFL stars. Reward: An opportunity to help a team and revive a once-flourishing career. With NFL training camps about to open, several big-name players are still unemployed, waiting anxiously, wondering when — or if — they’ll get a call. Retirement could be the next step for former All-Pros such as Ed … Continue reading →

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Saints’ Benjamin Watson: ‘I’m not worried about the Panthers’

Advocate file photo by JOHN McCUSKERNew Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson stiff-arms Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Philip Wheeler on Sept. 30 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome..

The Saints don’t face Carolina this season until Oct. 30 and Dec. 7, but New Orleans tight end Benjamin Watson kicked off the verbal sparring Wednesday evening. Appearing as a guest on NFL Network’s Total Access, Watson said there was one team in the Saints division that he wasn’t fretting about: the Panthers, winners of the NFC … Continue reading →

Jimmy Graham: ‘Excited to get back in the Dome’

Associated Press photo by David Seelig--Saints tight end Jimmy Graham

Jimmy Graham appears to be poised to rejoin the Saints with a stellar physique, a football focus on a Lombardi Trophy and little, if any, animosity. Graham, whose remarks were published Wednesday morning by the Saints website, said he didn’t get into football to learn litigation, which has dominated his offseason away from the franchise. … Continue reading →

Rafael Bush says Saints still have work to do

Advocate file photo by SCOTT THRELKELDSaints free safety Rafael Bush tackles Cowboys receiver Cole Beasley last season at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Like countless others in New Orleans, Saints player Rafael Bush is pumped about the wheeling and dealing his team did this offseason, doling out one groundbreaking contract to acquire three-time Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd in free agency and another to keep 2013 All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham on the roster long-term. But it’s way too early to get … Continue reading →

NFL tight ends should thank Jimmy Graham

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) scores a touchdown in a NFL football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013.

Along with congratulatory wishes, Vernon Davis, Jordan Cameron and the NFL’s other elite tight ends, plus those that aspire to be, should be sending Jimmy Graham thank you cards. According to analyst Joel Corry of The National Football Post, not only has Graham set a new earnings standard for his position, his … Continue reading →

Graham, Saints deal a win for both

Advocate staff photo by John McCusker -- New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) lets out his customary yell after the national anthem as the New Orleans Saints took on the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, November 10, 2013.

When a harsh phrase like “grievance hearing” enters the conversation, it’s not easy for both sides to get past the hard feelings and tough talk to work a deal. That the New Orleans Saints and Jimmy Graham — who is now and forevermore a tight end, amen — were able to strike an accord on a … Continue reading →

Four downs: Implications of Jimmy Graham’s new deal

Advocate photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham pulls in a pass between Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive backs Keith Tandy, left, and Dashon Goldson.

Tuesday morning’s agreement on a multi-year contract between the Saints and tight end Jimmy Graham carries lots of implications. Here’s four that are immediately good for New Orleans and bad for opponents trying to contain someone who since 2011 leads all NFL players in touchdown receptions (36) and tops all tight ends in catches (270) and receiving … Continue reading →

Where the Saints and Jimmy Graham stand as the deadline nears

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham

No new long-term contract had been announced between the Saints and Jimmy Graham as Monday was giving way to Tuesday, the last day the team and its All-Pro tight end have to strike such a deal in time for the 2014 season. There’s still time to get a deal done with Graham, whose four-year rookie contract expired … Continue reading →

Saints players to appear at The Pelican House on Saturday

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro

Saints players Jairus Byrd, Kenny Vaccaro, Kenny Stills and Stanley Jean-Baptiste will appear Saturday at The Pelican House, 2572 Citiplace Court in Baton Rouge. From 1 to 4 p.m., the players will be available and will sign autographs for fans 21 years old and under. The cost is $32; the ticket price will increase to $40 on … Continue reading →

Walker: NFL stars Keenan Lewis, Mike Wallace give back

According to the T-shirts the kids were wearing at Behrman Stadium on Saturday, it was the Keenan Lewis and Mike Wallace Football Camp. But it felt more like a good ole family reunion on the West Bank, with Lewis and Wallace serving as co-hosts. The sun was scorching. There was barbecue and snow cones. And … Continue reading →

Podcast: ESPN's Mortensen expects lengthy Graham contract resolution

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- From left, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Archie Manning, Cooper Manning, ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Jonathan Kraft speak at the 19th annual Manning Academy held at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Friday, July 11, 2014.

ESPN NFL insider Chris Mortensen gives his thoughts about the contract situation involving the New Orleans Saints and tight end Jimmy Graham. Mortensen expects it to be a long time before Graham and the Saints come together on a new contract after Graham lost a grievance against the team asking to be paid as a wide receiver instead … Continue reading →

Ex-NFL agents see Saints, Jimmy Graham coming to terms by July 15

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham makes a catch in against Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Connor Barwin last season.

It’s been more than a week since Jimmy Graham lost his grievance hearing as the result of a July 2 decision, but there’s been no indication that he’s exercised his right to an appeal yet (he was given 10 days to do so). Separately, the deadline for Graham to sign a long-term contract extension with the Saints in … Continue reading →

Peyton Manning No. 1 on list of NFL’s top 100 players

Advocate file photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Saints tight end Jimmy Graham celebrates a touchdown with quarterback Drew Brees in the Dec. 29 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

To Peyton Manning’s long list of honors, add another one. The Hall of Fame-bound quarterback from Newman High, now with the Denver Broncos, has been named the NFL’s top player for 2014 by a vote of his peers. Results were announced Wednesday in a two-hour special on the NFL Network that culminated a five-week countdown of … Continue reading →

Graham, Brees, Manning in NFL Network’s Top 10

Cheer up, Jimmy Graham. You may have lost your grievance arbitration, but you’re back in among the NFL’s Top 100 Players! What’s more, you’re in the Top 10! The NFL Network unveiled leading vote-getters in player balloting for the 2014 list Tuesday, and Graham was among them. That’s after he mysteriously fell from No. 14 … Continue reading →

Vargas: Saints receivers catch big crowd for charity

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD --  New Orleans Saints wide receiver Nick Toon (88)  is brought down by a Dolphin defender after a catch during the first quarter Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

With tidbits concerning Jimmy Graham’s ongoing contract dispute with the Saints flying around incessantly, and preseason training camp less than three weeks away, it was tempting to ignore three New Orleans players’ charity appearance Saturday afternoon. But in all fairness, giving back to the communities they represent can be as much a part of NFL players’ realities as … Continue reading →

Lewis: Saints, Jimmy Graham need to put dispute behind them

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham

Stephen Burbank, the arbitrator in the Jimmy Graham case, was standing in the lobby of a Metairie hotel following Graham’s grievance hearing two weeks ago, politely declining to discuss anything about the case other than maybe acknowledging who he was. So, trying another tactic, your intrepid correspondent inquired of Burbank about his then-boss, Mike Fitts, the dean … Continue reading →

Decision on Jimmy Graham’s status expected Thursday

Associated Press photo by MIKE McCARN -- New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham before a Dec. 22 game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C.

Arbitrator Stephen Burbank is making everyone wait a little longer for his ruling on the Jimmy Graham grievance hearing over his franchise tag status. ESPN reported Monday that Burbank, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, will inform all of the involved parties Thursday, “no sooner, no later,” according to a source. Neither Saints … Continue reading →