Late charter keeps Saints in Seattle


A long night on the field in Seattle got even worse off of it, and now the Saints are operating on a compressed time-frame as they brace for surging Carolina with first place in the NFC South at stake.

Forced to stay overnight in Seattle because of a delay of their charter flight, the Saints didn’t get back to New Orleans until after 3 p.m. local time on Tuesday, nearly 12 hours after they had planned to return.

Players were sent home to get some rest and an afternoon of film study and conditioning at club headquarters was essentially wiped out.

Even before the flight delay, coach Sean Payton expressed concern about not having his usual Monday-through-Saturday timeframe to prepare for the Panthers, who were able to start their preparations on Monday and will arrive in New Orleans riding an eight-game winning streak.

Team officials did not specify what caused the flight delay but confirmed the Saints did not take off until a little after noon EST.

The Saints will return to work today as they try to bounce back from a 34-7 drubbing that dropped them into a tie with Carolina atop the NFC South at 9-3.

Around the league

The Packers aren’t ruling out Aaron Rodgers even though the star QB hasn’t yet been medically cleared to play since breaking his left collarbone a month ago. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said that Rodgers will practice in a limited fashion today but backup Matt Flynn will take the starter’s snaps. Rodgers confirmed that he underwent an X-ray and CT scan earlier in the day. He admitted that the outlook wasn’t as promising as he’d hoped. … The Chiefs signed DT Jerrell Powe and released DT Kyle Love. … Lions LB Travis Lewis has been suspended for the final four games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. … With Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell recovering from concussions, the Browns signed QB Caleb Hanie, who could start this week at New England. The Browns worked out Hanie last week, but decided to sign Alex Tanney off Dallas’ practice squad. Tanney backed up Weeden on Sunday against Jacksonville. … The Seahawks are a clear choice at the top of the AP Pro32 power rankings. The Seahawks backed up last week’s unanimous No. 1 vote by blowing out New Orleans and knocking the Saints from second to fifth in balloting from the 12-member panel. A complete list of the power poll appears in the Stat Sheet on page B6.

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