At least Saints aren’t charging

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 27, 2000

Planning on taking in a few New Orleans Saint football practices? Take plenty of sunscreen. Sure, it’s going to be hot, but at least you won’t have to fork over 20 bucks just to watch.

The Washington Redskins will be the first team in NFL&160;history to charge admission to training camp practices.

In announcing that the team will move camp from Frostburg (Md.) State University to the team’s Ashburn, Va., headquarters, the Redskins said fans over the age of 12 will be charged $10. A $10 parking fee also will be charged.

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Teams routinely charge admission for scrimmages, but basic camp practices have traditionally been free and open to the public.

The way the Redskins have underachieved the past few years, I would think they would hand out free souvenirs to anyone wanting to watch.

Then again, consider the average ticket to a Redskin game is $74.28, including club seats, and folks might be thinking they are getting a deal.

The Saints, who probably would pay folks to stay away, will begin practicing at Nicholls State University in Thiodeaux, La., on July 15.

Players report at 5 p.m. on July 14.

Practice begins the next day with a 9 a.m. morning practice going until 11:20 a.m.

Those practices will be held without full gear.

The evening practices are set for 7:15 p.m. to 9:35 p.m. Those practices will be in full pads.

An intra-squad scrimmage is set for July 22 at 11 a.m. at John L. Guidry Stadium.

Of course, the Saints are holding voluntary &uot;coaching sessions&uot; right now. Under terms of the NFL collective bargaining agreement, team’s can’t schedule more than 14 organized workout sessions per offseason and must limit the workouts to four per week.

Full contact is prohibited. Players work out in helmets, shorts and jerseys. There is no &uot;live&uot; blocking or tackling.

Then again, the Saints did not do too much of that last year anyway.

The fact that all 85 players on the Saints’ active roster are participating is a good sign.

The Saints complete the 14 sessions June 6 and complete their final minicamp June 8-10.

Something tells me this New Orleans football team will be better prepared for the season than any team over the past several years.

The Saints travel to New York July 28 for a preseason game against the New York Jets on July 29.

The Saints will have two practices at Jacksonville against the Jaguars on Aug. 1.

On Aug. 5, the Saints go to Minnesota for a preseason game, followed by an Aug. 12 preseason game against Indianapolis with will be played at Purdue.

The Saints break camp on Aug. 16.

The Saints open at home against Detroit on Sept. 3 and then go to San Diego and Seattle. New Orleans returns home to welcome Philadelphia before going to Chicago without Mike Ditka.

Winning four of the first five games is definitely not out of the question.

And then folks will start comparing them to last year’s St. Louis team.

I can just see the Benson Boogie returning now.

Joey Martin is sports editor of The Democrat. He can be reached by calling 446-5172 ext. 232 or at