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Saints out of city ahead of hurricane
Kyle Orton has completed 27 of 42 passes for 409 yards with two TDs and two INTs in the preseason.
By Times wire
Published August 29, 2005
NEW ORLEANS - The Saints headed for northern California, leaving several days early as Hurricane Katrina bore down on the city under a mandatory evacuation.
The team has a Thursday night preseason game against the Oakland Raiders, and will practice today through Wednesday at San Jose State. The Saints' flight left around 3 Sunday.
Team officials expect to decide after Thursday's game whether to return to New Orleans.
"Our plans for flying home will be determined once we see what kind of condition the city is in," team spokesman Greg Bensel said in an e-mail to the Associated Press. "We are all hoping for the best for the city and the people that remain."
Katrina intensified into a Category 5 hurricane over the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico on a path to make landfall at sunrise in the heart of New Orleans. That would make it the city's first direct hit in 40 years and the most powerful storm ever to slam the city.
BEARS: Rookie Kyle Orton was named starting quarterback and Chad Hutchinson demoted out of the playing rotation. Orton's strong performance in Friday's 16-12 win over Buffalo when he led an 81-yard scoring drive, and Hutchinson's second straight shaky outing - 3-for-14 passing, two interceptions and three sacks - prompted coach Lovie Smith to make the move. Orton, who played at Purdue, was a fourth-round pick who slipped in the draft after he was slowed by a hip injury in his senior season. Veteran Jeff Blake is the backup and Kurt Kittner is No. 3.
Running back Cedric Benson ended his 36-day holdout, agreeing to a five-year contract. Terms weren't immediately available, but the Bears had been offering between $17-million and $17.5-million guaranteed on a total package that could be worth about $35-million.
The stalemate ended three days after Benson strolled into Halas Hall for an impromptu meeting with general manager Jerry Angelo and 10 days after Angelo released a statement saying the team had made its best and final offer.
"He's looking forward to coming in and doing what he does best, which is playing," said Eugene Parker, Benson's agent. "He loves Chicago and wanted to be there all along."
EAGLES: The team withdrew its franchise tag on former first-round draft pick Corey Simon, making the defensive tackle an unrestricted free agent.
Simon was offered a one-year franchise tender worth about $5.13-million, but wanted a long-term contract, never signed the deal or reported to the minicamps or training camp. With the franchise tag, another team would have forfeited two first-round picks if they signed the former Pro Bowl lineman.
Also, defensive end Jerome McDougle, who hasn't been with the team since he was shot in Miami on the eve of the start of camp, is expected back this week. Coach Andy Reid said he could be ready to play by the fifth or sixth game.
FALCONS: Rookie linebacker Jordan Beck likely will go on injured reserve list with a foot injury, effectively ending his season.
49ERS: Defensive end/linebacker Andrew Williams, a former standout at Hillsborough High who later played at Miami, was released.
JAGUARS: Troy Edwards, a one-time first-round pick, was released after he was unable to move ahead of rookie receivers Matt Jones and Chad Owens.