San Antonio wants to make the Saints’ temporary relocation a permanent move, and Saints owner Tom Benson (above) reportedly is willing to listen. And if there’s a primal urge to grab each principal and scrub it with a Brillo Pad to scrape off a layer of the grime, join the crowd.
There’s slimy, and there’s this.
There’s callous, and there’s this.
There’s kicking a city in its ribs when it’s already down on its knees, and there’s this.
But, apparently, “this” happens. Or will, as soon as the last second elapses on the 2005 season.
“(Benson) understands that we will sit down and talk,” San Antonio mayor Phil Hardberger told the San Antonio Express-News on Sunday, after city and state officials, including Gov. Rick Perry, watched much of the Saints’ 34-31 loss to Atlanta from Benson’s suite in the Alamodome.
“I think Tom Benson would like to stay here permanently and I, as mayor of San Antonio, would like to have the team stay here permanently.”
San Antonio doesn’t owe New Orleans anything, though you’d have hoped common courtesy would have ruled the day. Pouncing on a city that’s in no shape to defend itself isn’t exactly sporting, but there’s nothing in the rulebook against it.
Benson owes New Orleans. He owes fans that have supported his franchise since he bought it in 1985. He owes a region, the Gulf Coast, which has been faithful to him despite his continued threats and flirtations with relocation, despite the fact that in his first 20 years as owner, his teams have had nine losing records, four seasons of 8-8 and one playoff victory.
He owes a state that has sweetened his pot every time he has gone to the bargaining table looking to upgrade his lease agreement.
But he seems to be in no mood to show allegiance to anything farther away than his wallet.
“I’m not going to make any comments about it until the end of the season,” Benson said Sunday, which pretty much says all any of us needs to know. Because it would have been just as easy to squash speculation and commit to New Orleans and its rebuilding effort — something Benson should be familiar with, as many times as fans have been asked to be patient with his team’s rebuilding efforts — as it was to refuse comment until the end of the season.
San Francisco have traded QB Tim Rattay to Tampa Bay. Unless Chris Simms magically turns into his dad, Rattay should see a fair amount of playing time, the Bucs having lost Brian Griese (torn knee ligaments) during last Sunday’s win over Miami.