--The Saints continued to stockpile good players with NFL experience last week when they signed veteran punter Chris Hanson to a one-year contract.
Hanson is a seven-year NFL veteran who played 85 of 86 career games with the Jacksonville Jaguars. A 6-foot-2, 202-pound left-footed punter, he has never had a punt blocked in 428 career kicks in the NFL.
A Pro Bowl pick in 2002, Hanson averaged 42.9 yards per punt with a net average of 35.9 and a long kick of 74 yards during a six-year stay with the Jaguars. He dropped 136 punts inside the 20 and had just 50 touchbacks.
Hanson, who will compete with second-year punter Steve Weatherford, also served as the holder for the Jaguars. He originally signed with the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent and has spent time with the Green Bay Packers and Miami Dolphins.
--Saints coach Sean Payton last week commented for the first time on the team's decision to grant four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Joe Horn his release in early March after he refused to take a pay cut.
There was speculation that Horn wasn't Payton's kind of player from the time Payton arrived in 2006. That talk escalated after Horn complained that he could have played in the NFC Championship Game against the Chicago Bears despite a groin injury that had sidelined him for several weeks.
Payton, however, quickly shot down that theory.
"He was my kind of player," Payton said. "He's a guy that was tough. He's competitive. He's someone that's obviously good for the team that he's on and good for the city he's in. He was someone everyone enjoyed having here, including myself."
--Payton smiled broadly when asked if he was relieved when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, one of his team's NFC South rivals, didn't get a chance to snare wide receiver Calvin Johnson in the first round of the draft last week.
"Yes," Payton said as reporters laughed.
Because the Bucs didn't get a shot at Johnson, a 6-foot-5, 239-pounder who ran the 40 in 4.35 seconds, Payton and the Saints avoided two matchups a year with the former Georgia Tech star.
When asked if Johnson was No. 1 on the Saints' board, a still-smiling Payton again said, "Yes."
--Payton said last week he's not bothered that running back Reggie Bush has missed the first four weeks of the Saints' off-season workout program.
Payton said he understood that Bush has a busier schedule than most players and was satisfied that Bush is working out with a personal trainer at his home in Los Angeles.
He said he fully expects Bush to be in good shape when he joins the program next week when the team gets ready to go into the next phase of the off-season -- organized team activities.
--Cologne Centurions strong safety Chris Reis, who signed with the Saints early in the off-season as a free agent, was named the NFL Europa League's Defensive Player of the Week for Week 3.
Reis helped Cologne to a 14-6 victory over the Rhein Fire by intercepting a pass and returning it 21 yards for a touchdown with 11:42 to play in the game. Reis also added one tackle and knocked down a pass.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"If he was ready (to play), I would have had him in the game and we would have featured him. I'm probably the most selfish person in the building. I want to win all these games. So there would be no reason at all, if why I felt like he was able to play, I would not have played him." -- Saints coach Sean Payton on not playing Joe Horn in the NFC title game.
Copyright (C) 2007 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.