by Alejandro de los Rios
I could come up with a million excuses as to why it took me so long to post this, but really, it all comes down to laziness.
Regardless, the Saints held their rookie camp this past weekend and invited media folks on Saturday to talk to players and head coach Sean Payton. For those of you who aren't familiar, rookie camp is a place were draft picks, un-drafted free-agents and general NFL hangers ons get a chance to show their chops to NFL head coaches. Forget that, out of the more than 60 players invited, less than half a dozen will make the team (including the practice squad). Also, forget that, aside from the Saints six draft picks, media members didn't know or talk to the majority of the players. Just know that rookie camp is just a big, humid opportunity to ask NFL greenhorns pressing questions. Like, what's up with the IHOP tatoo?
"Back in college we kept a tally of pancakes and I really love eating at IHOP," Saints fourth-overall pick Carl Nicks said.
Nick, an offensive tackle out of Nebraska, also had a bit of a past with him — a trend among this year's rookie class — but all mostly academic stuff. But asked if his tendency to be late to class would carry over to the NFL.
"Nah," he said definitively. "I won't be late to no meetings."
After graciously allowing me to take a picture of his tattoo, I moved on to talk to grill the Saints final draft pick, Adrian Arrington, abou, among other things, his nickmaes.
"Oh, man," he said. "I had a lot. A-Airs, A-Squared, then that turned into A-Squeezie and then just Squeezie."
Arrington, a Michigan man, said that he's also a big bowling fanatic (I did not, regrettably, go on to ask if he knew about the Hornets' bowling tradition) and that was the big thing to do in Ann Arbor. Speaking of, it's really cold up there isn't it? What's it like moving to hot and steamy New Orleans?
"The humidity is unbelievable," he said. "The mornings here feel like summer afternoons in Michigan."
(For the record: It's this reporter's humble opinion that Saturday morning felt like a summer afternoon in hell.)
Sedrick Ellis, the Saints first-round draft pick out of the University of Southern California, talked about the humidity during his press conference with reporters. In fact, it was the first thing he talked about. Luckily, for the sake of diversity, it wasn't the only thing. He also talked about his eating habits
"That's always a concern being a big guy," he said. "But you're a professional now so you have to be disciplined and get your workouts in and watch your eating habits."
Of course, this is New Orleans and it's famous for its food. Is there anything that he's looking to try?
"I've haven't ever been to New Orleans," he said. "This is my first time. So I think maybe I'll give [Reggie Bush] a call and we'll go round and hit the spots and see if there's anything good out here."
That really shouldn't be a problem — just asked Norman Hand — what has been, of course, is the weather. Like I said, the humidity was topic No. 1 yesterday. Second-round draft pick Tracy Porter, originally from Port Allen, Louisiana, said that he gave his fellow rookies some words of advice.
"I definitely warned them about the humidity and the heat that's down here," he said. "Really if you're not form this climate there's no way to prepare for it."
Also, with more than 60 players vying for so little spots, there's an inherent risk that some might go too overboard. Sean Payton said that he had to tell some of his players to ease up during the team's first walk-through.
"The first walk through we had was like a scrimmage," he said. "So we had to have a little meeting on the field to say 'hey, you're not going to earn a spot in this walk through.'"
Mind you, that quote came 22 minutes into Payton's 30-minute press conference. So forgive me if this recap isn't all that comprehensive (if not coherent). For a better take on what happened, I encourage all Saints fans to check out the Sun Herald's coverage of Demario Pressley and Ellis being a "pain in the rear". You could also check out The Advocate's coverage of the former LSU players in camp. The Advertiser also talked about Ellis' quick learning and the Times-Picayune said that the rookies received a "wake-up call." Also, somewhat lost in the fray, was that Shaun Alexander payed the Saints a visit; The Advertiser has full coverage on that.
So yea, all in all, an eventful weekend.