Thursday, June 21, 2018
Sports

Report: Saints GM could hear coaches

NEW ORLEANS — The Saints denied an anonymously sourced ESPN report on Monday which alleged that general manager Mickey Loomis' booth in the Superdome was wired so he could listen to opposing coaches' radio communications during games.

ESPN could not determine if the system was ever used. The report on Monday's Outside the Lines said Loomis would have been able to eavesdrop on opponents from 2002 to 2004. The report said the system was disabled in 2005, when the Superdome was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Saints spokesman Greg Bensel called the report "1,000 percent false."

"We asked ESPN to provide us evidence to support their allegations and they refused," Bensel said. "The team and Mickey are seeking all legal recourse regarding these false allegations."

Loomis explained his use of an earpiece and described his game-day setup in the booth in an emailed statement.

"I have a monitor in front of me in my booth that provides the league issued stats for the game," Loomis stated. "I have a small TV with the network broadcast and I have an earpiece to listen to the WWL-AM radio game broadcast.

"To think I am sitting in there listening and actually … doing something with the offensive and defensive play calls of the opposing teams makes this story and the unnamed sources that provided the false information that much more less credible," Loomis' statement continued. "It just didn't happen."

Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett was the Saints' coach from 2000-05. In a comment the Saints forwarded to the AP by email, Haslett denied knowledge of any system that would have allowed for eavesdropping on opponents.

If the Saints had a system letting them listen to opponents, it would have violated NFL rules and could have infringed on federal wire-tapping laws.

"We were not aware of it," league spokesman Greg Aiello said. FBI spokeswoman Sheila Thorne said the agency's New Orleans office was aware of the situation, but wouldn't comment further.

Also, Loomis said the club has signed 42-year-old kicker John Kasay to a one-year contract.

DAWKINS RETIRES: Brian Dawkins said his head told him to retire, not his neck. The veteran safety called Broncos coach John Fox on Monday to tell him that 16 seasons in the NFL was enough. Then, Dawkins, 38, announced his retirement on Twitter. "It's probably going to sound crazy, but you know the fact that I could play another year gave me a lot of peace to say that this is it," he said.

COWBOYS: Outside linebacker Anthony Spencer signed a tender worth about $8.8 million for 2012 after being named a franchise player.

DOLPHINS: The team waived defensive end Phillip Merling, the 32nd overall pick in 2008.

PACKERS: The team released left tackle Chad Clifton, who started 160 games in 12 seasons. Bucs fans might remember him as the player knocked out for the season when defensive tackle Warren Sapp nailed him during an interception return in 2002 — a play that drew the ire of Packers coach Mike Sherman and sparked a postgame confrontation between Sapp and Sherman. … Starting linebacker Erik Walden re-signed.

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