Saints to face Cardinals in Hall of Fame game

It’s official: The New Orleans Saints will play in the 2012 Hall of Fame game on Sunday, Aug. 5 in Canton, Ohio, against the Arizona Cardinals.

The NFL announced the pairing on Wednesday, nearly a week after it was reported that the Saints had volunteered for and accepted an invitation to play in the game that will cap three days of enshrinement festivities for the Class of 2012.

The game will be played in Fawcett Stadium, which is adjacent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame museum. The NFL Network will televise the game, which will kick off at 7 p.m.

The Saints were eager to play in the game because one of the more decorated players in franchise history, tackle William Roaf, is one of six men who will be inducted into the Hall the night before the game.

A first-round pick of the Saints out of Louisiana Tech in 1993, Roaf played with the Saints for nine seasons and was voted to a club-record seven Pro Bowls as a dominant blocker on the left side of the line.

Roaf is only the second Saints’ player to have played the majority of his career with the Saints to be elected to the Hall of Fame, joining linebacker Rickey Jackson (2010).

Also scheduled for induction this summer are defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, a former Seattle Seahawks’ star who is now a personnel consultant for the Saints, cornerback Jack Butler, center Dermontti Dawson, defensive end Chris Doleman and running back Curtis Martin.

This will be the fifth Hall of Fame appearance for the Saints, who dropped a 20-7 decision to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007. The Saints are 1-3 in their previous Hall of Fame matchups.

Tickets for the game are priced at $67, $62 and $52 and will go on sale Tuesday, March 13. For more information visit the Hall’s website at www.profootballhof.com.

THREE AGREE TO DEALS: The Saints announced Wednesday that they have agreed to terms on one-year contracts with three of their four exclusive rights free agents — safety Jonathon Amaya, wide receiver Adrian Arrington and long snapper Justin Drescher.

All three are two-year veterans who could only re-sign with the Saints if they were offered contract tenders of $540,000 by the team.

Arrington saw action in four regular-season games this past season and had two receptions for 31 yards before catching one pass in each of the Saints’ two playoff games.

Drescher has been the long snapper since joining the Saints midway through the 2010 season, while Amaya was a reserve safety and special teams contributor in 2011 after being acquired from the Miami Dolphins in the Reggie Bush trade.

Brees wins FedEx honor; o-line takes Madden Protectors Award

INDIANAPOLIS – Befitting a team that shattered two longstanding NFL offensive records during the 2011 season, the New Orleans Saints picked up two major awards Wednesday as Super Bowl XLVI activities continued.

Quarterback Drew Brees was named the FedEx NFL Air Player of the Year for the fourth time in six seasons with the club and the Saints’ offensive line took home the Madden Protectors Award presented by Prilosec OTC for the best line play for the second time in three years.

Behind Brees’ 5,476 passing yards, which broke the 27-year-old single-season record of 5,084 yards by Dan Marino, the Saints set the league mark for total yards in a season with 7,474 — which easily topped the old mark of 7,075 yards set by the St. Louis Rams in 2000.

Brees won his award in an online vote of fans over Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, the 2010 winner, and New England’s Tom Brady. Brees, who is the only quarterback to win at least three times in the nine-year history of the award, also took the honor in 2006, ’08 and ’09.

The Saints’ starting offensive line of tackles Jermon Bushrod and Zach Strief, center Brian de la Puente, and guards Carl Nicks and Jahri Evans were on hand to accept.

More than 350,000 fans voted online for the Madden Protectors Award, which the Saints won over the Houston Texans, New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos.

The FedEx NFL Ground Player of the Year Award, which was announced in conjunction with the air award, went to Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy. He won over Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew and Baltimore’s Ray Rice.