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Saints News: 5.26.08

Sorry, not much for you on this Memorial Day. I will be working. I'm sure most of you have off.

I think I missed this one yesterday. It's a piece from Mike Detillier at Houma Today. It's all about the perils that NFL players face in the off-season and its effect on NFL teams. This comes because of the recent trouble Charles Grant has found himself involved in. Former New Orleans Saints defensive assistant coach tells us why these off-season months are so scary yet so important. He said this in 2001 and it pretty much rings true today.

“I am just so happy to be in camp,” Venturi said. “The scariest part of this business doesn’t happen during the season, but those months of April, May, June and into July. Some of these guys have a built-in system to stay out of trouble, but for some, too much spare time and a lot of money is a bad combination. Some of these guys put themselves in bad spots, and for others they are targets for people trying to prey on their money and them being celebrities.”

“I am certainly not trying to get anyone to feel sorry for millionaire players, but these guys are targets today for a host of people. I talk to people daily that say I wish I could be a football player. Make all that money and I would never get in any trouble and maybe they wouldn’t. But then you are targeted by guys trying to scam money off of you with deals to set you up for life and you get taken,” Venturi said. “You have women constantly throwing themselves at players, and some people you have been friendly with all your life who haven’t made it as well are trying to use their friendship to get money off of you, or who knows what else. It’s scary out there and we try and preach this to all of our players, but circumstances sometimes can get out of control and something you have really pieced together in the football off-season becomes unhinged because of one out of step incident.”

“I am telling you this and willing to bet every nickel I have that in those spring break months incidents that happen then and even incidents that happen earlier … now get blown up in the summer (and) affects a couple of teams each year,” Venturi said. “You have to have a strong coach, a strong front office and leaders on your team that take control when an event or events take center stage. People outside this business don’t understand just how worried coaches are about these summer months, and like a parent, you just hope guys out on their own use good judgment about where they go and who they hang around with.”

I guess the well must be dry because this story from Sports Illustrated is just an old story they recycled. Its about the emotion Drew Brees felt on a trip he took months ago to Okinawa, Japan during his USO tour, when he stood in the same place his grandfather fought 63 years ago.

"I asked him, 'Grandpa, what were you thinking when you came ashore?' " Brees recalled. "He said, 'I was just trying to live to be 20.' He was 19 and his birthday was in May. As he was telling me this, my eyes were just welling with tears. I was thinking about what that must have been like. I mean they were kids, 19- and 20-year-old kids that had this huge responsibility and huge burden on their shoulders. A lot of them died."