NFL LOCKOUT UPDATE: Skeptical Saints Aren't Buying It...Yet

Darren Sharper's Celebrity Softball Event last night surely featured plenty of hits AND misses (like this missed tackle of Marshawn Lynch from the playoff game). (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Mike Triplett just had to go and harsh my buzz with this story posting last night on the nola.com/Times-Pic site.

In it, he gets the reactions of some Saints players to the news of Saturday's progress in the labor negotiations, and they weren't nearly as excited as I was about it.

Follow the jump for more...

Side note: The Triplett story also contains a report on Darren Sharper's charity softball event at Zephyr Field on Saturday (with a sweet photo gallery, too!).

While the tone surrounding the NFL labor talks seemed to shift back from pessimism to optimism Saturday, the prevailing mood among most New Orleans Saints players was still skepticism.

OK, sure.

Some even laughed when told of breaking reports that there was a major breakthrough in discussions between the leagues owners and players, as they were warming up to participate in safety Darren Sharper's charity softball game at Zephyr Field.

But are they laughing with me, or at me?

OK, enough with the paraphrasing Mike, I want some direct quotes, please.

"Now it's at a point where I'll believe it when I see it," cornerback Randall Gay said. "Because all week it was, you know, 'It's going to be done Wednesday. Or Thursday we're going to do this. And right now we're still without a job. We can't go right across the street and go in the locker room.


"I mean, it's always good to hear good news. But that good news is always followed by, hold on, slow down a second. So whenever I hear it from (player representatives Drew Brees and Jon Stinchcomb), that's when I'll be really excited."

Works for me. Did you hear from any other Saints DBs?

Safety Malcolm Jenkins agreed, adding, "If you tried to listen to what the media's putting out there, you would be on a roller coaster this whole lockout."

Nonetheless, Jenkins said the main advice that Brees has given his teammates is to be prepared when the time finally comes. The players still believe they could open training camp by the end of the week.

"We're definitely preparing like we're going to report on time," Jenkins said. "That's been the plan the whole time. Drew has told us on a number of occasions, Let's just be ready to go when the time comes. And if it's postponed, then we'll adjust to that."

Now what about Heath Evans? He always seems to have something to say. Was he around the dugout?

"The media, they've been wrong so many times, and not even close. And that's the hardest issue," Evans said. "Because listen, do we love our fans? Yeah. And do the owners love our fans? Yeah. But this is business. And there's going to be some nastiness involved in getting this thing done.

"I've kept in daily contact with these guys (Brees and other player representatives). And just knowing where we've been, there hasn't been an emotional knee-jerk reaction from (NFL Players Association leader DeMaurice Smith) and his crew. So the timeline is, we want to get the right deal. Whatever that timeline is."

A little later, Mike makes what may be a "List-Worthy" statement:

Starting left tackle Jermon Bushrod will be one of the most coveted free agents on the roster if he hits the open market.

He closes the section with words from Bushrod and Sharper...

"Well, you know, I really dont have a choice. That's just the cards that we were dealt," Bushrod said of the rushed timetable. "We're going to have a few days, a week maybe at the most, to figure out where guys futures are going to be. But that's what coaches, agents and front office guys, they've been preparing for this. It's going to be hectic. You know, guys might not be getting much sleep. But it's going to get done."


Sharper, who is also a pending free agent, said he doesn't know if he'll wind up in New Orleans or somewhere else. But he agreed with Bushrod's assessment.


"It will happen quickly. I know that," Sharper said.

And there you have it, straight from the mouths of some of the Saints FAs, and two players currently under contract with New Orleans.

Cautious optimism...or should we call it guarded skepticism? Whatever it is, I'm ready for it soon to be LOCKOUT OVER. Can I get an AMEN?

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