Saturday, September 10, 2005

NFL Union Chief Says Saints Will Play In Alamodome

Tom Orsborn

NFL Players Association President Gene Upshaw told the San Antonio Express-News today he has received word from NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue that the Alamodome will host New Orleans Saints games this season.

The only question that remains to be answered, Upshaw said, is how many.

“The Alamodome will not be shut out,” Upshaw said. “I am confident of that. The commissioner told me so. Now, it’s a matter of numbers. Four games, three games, two games, we don’t know yet.”

Upshaw said the number of games at the Alamodome will be determined after NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Saints owner Tom Benson meet with LSU chancellor Sean O’Keefe on Monday in Baton Rouge.

A league spokesman confirmed the meeting but said a decision has not been made on how many games will be played at Tiger Stadium, which seats 92,000, or if games will be played in the Alamodome.

“I’m not disputing what Gene said,” said Greg Aiello, NFL vice president of public relations. “He has been talking to the commissioner. But we have no comment. No decision has been made. We are working on it.”

Aiello said the purpose of Tagliabue’s trip to Baton Rouge is to “assess the situation there and determine the feasibility of playing some number of Saints games there this year. We want to make sure we have a good understanding of the conditions, and the conditions under which the Saints could play.”

The Express-News, citing sources close to the negotiations, reported Friday the Saints and city officials have agreed to play four games in the Alamodome.

The Saints, driven from New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, have set up their base in San Antonio, where they are expected to stay for the remainder of the season.

Saints players told Upshaw on Friday they want to play as many games in San Antonio as possible.


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