New Orleans Saints kick off training camp
METAIRIE - July 30 was the first day back to work for the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.
The team hit the outdoor practice field just before 9 a.m., greeted by more than 2,000 fans, bright sunshine and temperatures that felt like 110 degrees.
The second practice of the day was moved indoors due to the heat. The team keeps tabs on the weather forecast and heat index. Based on the outlook, a decision is made to move outdoor practices inside. Indoor sessions are closed to the public.
"We pay attention to the weather forecast and the heat index. A lot of it is what it feels like, but I can always tell when the gum melts, it's probably going to be hot. We've dealt with it. More than anything else, we're trying to get as best work as we can, too."
Head coach Sean Payton, who enters his fifth season with the team, was pleased with the first practice.
"We have a lot of work to do, but it was a good start," he said.
One big surprise Friday morning was the arrival of first-round draft picks Patrick Robinson, the last of the six selections to sign a contract. The Florida State cornerback, who was chosen 32nd overall, managed to cut a five-year deal in time to make the first practice.
"It's good to have him here at the very beginning and not have to play catch-up," Payton said.
The rest of the team arrived Thursday night. The active roster is comprised of 80 players, with four physically unable to perform.
Five players did not participate: free safety Darren Sharper (knee), linebacker Clint Ingram (knee), wide receiver Robert Meachem (toe), wide receiver Marques Colston (knee) and center Matt Tennant (excused absence).
The Saints will make a trip to the White House to meet President Barack Obama Aug. 9. The team will practice with the New England Patriots from Aug. 10-12.