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Peyton Manning was magnificent in his final regular-season tuneup Sunday, throwing his first two touchdown passes for the Denver Broncos in a 29-24 loss to visiting San Francisco. Manning completed 10 of 12 passes for 122 yards, including TD tosses of 10 and 5 yards to Eric Decker.
The blocked punt that etched Steve Gleason into Saints lore and became symbolic of New Orleans’ resilience in the face of disaster is now immortalized in a 9-foot statue outside the Superdome. “That statue is not about football,” former Washington State Cougar Gleason, straining to speak because of the effects of ALS, said at the formal unveiling on Friday. “It’s a symbol of the commitment and perseverance that this community took on before that game. So that statue is a symbol of what they did.” Gleason famously blocked the ball off of the foot of then-Atlanta punter Michael Koenen and into the end zone for a Saints touchdown on Sept. 25, 2006, the night the rebuilt Superdome and the city of New Orleans hosted an NFL game for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. – Associated Press
The New Orleans Saints made a new contract offer to record-setting quarterback Drew Brees, said a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because the team and the quarterback have not publicly discussed the new offer. The Saints have placed their one-year franchise tag on Brees (pictured right), barring him from negotiating with other teams. Brees has said he wants to remain in New Orleans but has skipped voluntary practices and this week’s minicamp while holding out for a long-term deal. Brees has completed more passes (2,488) for more yards (28,394) and more touchdown (201) than any other quarterback in the NFL during the past six seasons. – Associated Press
METAIRIE, La. – Akiem Hicks looks the part of an NFL defensive tackle, even if his resume does not stack up to those of most players selected in the first half of the NFL draft. The closest the 6-foot-5, 324-pound Hicks ever came to playing major college football was the few months he spent at LSU as a junior college transfer before dropping out without ever playing a down.
Suspended New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma (pictured right) filed a defamation lawsuit Thursday against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, claiming the league’s top executive made false statements that tarnished Vilma’s reputation and hindered his ability to earn a living playing football. The suit in U.S. District Court in New Orleans claims Goodell, “relied on, at best, hearsay, circumstantial evidence and lies” in making comments about Vilma while discussing the NFL’s bounty investigation of the New Orleans Saints. Goodell has said Vilma was a leader of the team’s bounty program that put up thousands of dollars for hits which took out opposing teams’ star players from 2009-11. – Associated Press
On a night when a lot went wrong for the Spokane Shock, Terrance Sanders did a ton of things right. Sanders picked off two passes – one in overtime – and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, helping Spokane escape with a 68-62 Arena Football League victory over New Orleans in front of an announced crowd of 8,918 Friday at the Arena.
It’s been nearly a month since the Spokane Shock played a home game. During that stretch, Spokane put together some of its best football of the Arena Football League season, some of its worst in an 84-63 loss to Utah last week and has a new look for the roster.
Spokane is keeping its training staff and the Arena Football League offices busy. The Shock were so depleted near the end of Friday’s 84-63 loss to Utah that they only put seven players on the field for a kickoff. Nobody else was available to reach the eight-man limit. The Shock used seven different players at the jack and mac linebacker positions.
NEW ORLEANS – A recording of then-New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams urging players to deliver punishing hits on specific San Francisco players was released without approval from retired special teams standout Steve Gleason, who had helped a documentary filmmaker gain behind-the-scenes access to the Saints. “I feel deflated and disappointed. I feel frustrated and distracted,” Gleason said in a statement on his website.
NEW ORLEANS – Saints coach Sean Payton is appealing his season-long suspension from the NFL for his role in New Orleans’ bounty system. And he’s not the only one looking for a little relief from the penalties handed down by Commissioner Roger Goodell. General manager Mickey Loomis, assistant coach Joe Vitt and the Saints organization each decided to appeal on Friday.
The NFL has suspended New Orleans head coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is banned from the league indefinitely because of the team’s bounty program that targeted opposing players.
NEW ORLEANS – Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints are pouring on the points, racking up the wins and rewriting the record books nearly every time they play. Things sure are rollin’ on the river.
NEW ORLEANS – Approaching 33 and with two young boys at home, Drew Brees has been emphasizing his role as a father lately, appearing on Sesame Street and in commercials with his children. Apparently, none of that is interfering with his day job as New Orleans Saints quarterback. If anything, Brees said this week, it’s one of the reasons he’s playing some of the best football of his career and on the brink of breaking some of the most prestigious records.
NEW ORLEANS – Drew Brees and the surging New Orleans Saints made everything look easy against the slumping Giants. Brees passed for 363 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another score as New Orleans rolled to a 49-24 victory Monday night, extending New York’s losing skid to three games.