Drew Brees called the New Orleans Saints together before the start of practice on Tuesday, an uncharacteristic move by the quarterback to make sure that a team with so much experience in dealing with distractions was ready to handle the latest one.
The Saints practiced on the Cincinnati Bengals’ grass fields downtown on a sunny, 87-degree afternoon while Hurricane Isaac bore down on New Orleans, finishing their preseason the way their entire offseason has gone. It’s been one thing after another.
“A lot of this has been swirling around us and now all of a sudden, we’re together and let’s make sure we’re out here with a purpose,” Brees said, summing up his speech to the team. “It’s to get better, not just to run around and run some plays.
“We’ve got a great group of guys, great leadership. Everybody understands we’re going to weather the storm literally and find the way to make the most of it and make a positive out of a tough situation.”
The Saints were forced to scramble when Isaac set course for New Orleans. They played a preseason game on Saturday night, then rearranged their plans and spent Sunday and Monday evacuating their families and preparing their homes for the storm.
Steelers’ Wallace arrives
With less than two weeks before the start of the regular season, Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Wallace reported to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Wallace, a restricted free agent, had yet to sign his one-year contract tender worth approximately $2.7 million.
The Steelers conclude their preseason at home against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday and open their regular season Sept. 9 at the Denver Broncos.
Last season, Wallace has 72 receptions for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns. He has 24 receiving touchdowns in his three-season career.
Cook may be finished
Cincinnati Bengals center Kyle Cook could be lost for the season because of a foot and ankle injury, the second significant setback to Cincinnati’s offensive line during the preseason.
Cook hurt his right foot and ankle when a defender fell on it during a preseason game last Thursday night. He didn’t think it was a severe injury at first and stayed in the game.
He showed up at Paul Brown Stadium on Monday expecting to practice. Doctors sent him for precautionary X-rays and an MRI that found a more significant problem. He had a protective boot on his right foot on Tuesday in the locker room.
The Bengals already have lost left guard Travelle Wharton for the season with a knee injury suffered in the preseason opener.
Around the league
Brian Westbrook will officially retire as a member of the Eagles today and will be honored during a game against Washington in December. The former All-Pro running back played eight seasons with Philadelphia from 2002-09. He is the franchise leader with 9,785 total yards from scrimmage. … The Tennessee Titans removed receiver Kenny Britt from the physically unable to perform list, though he will not play Thursday night in the team’s preseason finale against New Orleans. Britt and the Titans are waiting to hear from the NFL if he faces punishment for a driving under the influence arrest in July. … The Atlanta Falcons released backup quarterback Chris Redman and signed Luke McCown. McCown spent the past three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, making two starts.