'We were a disgrace,' ex-Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks says of post-Katrina New Orleans team _lowres

ADVOCATE FILE PHOTO -- New Orleans Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks is sacked by Chicago Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye during the second quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium on Nov. 6, 2005.

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In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the 2005 New Orleans Saints were a discombobulated and forgotten franchise, ex-quarterback Aaron Brooks recounted recently to Sporting News.

"Nobody," Brooks said. "Nobody had our backs."

Brooks and former place kicker John Carney described to SN what it was like behind the scenes that season when the team set up temporary headquarters in San Antonio, split home games between the Alamodome and LSU's Tiger Stadium and even played a "home" game in New York.

Players were selfish, Brooks said. There was no accountability or structure.

"We were a disgrace," the quarterback said. "Even though it doesn't seem like we messed up, we messed up. Because our city was messed up. If our fans are unhappy, then our team is unhappy. If our team is unhappy, then the city is unhappy. Because New Orleans is the team. The city of New Orleans is the football team."

As the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, SN points out that the 2006 Saints -- reignited by Sean Payton and Drew Brees -- are the ones most commonly connected to Katrina. But the 2005 team shouldn't be forgotten.

"The city came alive for that event and for that (2006 homecoming) game," Carney said. "And it really felt like the city was flexing their muscles and communicating to the world: 'We're strong, we're together. And we're back.'

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