Saints to open three minicamp practices to public

METAIRIE – The Saints will open three of their five minicamp practices to the public next week, the team announced Thursday.

The Saints will hold their three-day full-squad minicamp starting Tuesday at the team’s training facility at 5800 Airline Drive in Metairie. The public is invited to attend the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday practices set for 10:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Coach Sean Payton will also hold practices on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, but those sessions will be closed to the public.

In the event of inclement weather, the team may move practice indoors with little or no advance warning. Fans attending any open practice will not be allowed inside the indoor facility, due to space limitations.

There is no admission charge to watch the minicamp practices and gates will open to the public at 9:30 a.m. each day. Parking will be available in the Zephyr Field parking lot just west of the Saints practice facility.

Report: Saints’ Harper restructures contract

Saints strong safety Roman Harper has signed a contract extension that will give the club some salary cap relief for this season, NFL.com reported Friday.

The website’s Ian Rapoport reported the deal Harper signed Thursday guarantees him $4 million for this season although other financial terms were not immediately available. It also guarantees the eight-year veteran won’t be cut, Rapoport reported.

Harper was scheduled to make $5.25 million in base salary in 2013 with $2.6 million guaranteed when he was on the roster for the third day of the new league year in March.

Harper, who signed a four-year deal with the team in July 2011, was scheduled to count $7.1 million against the salary cap this season. He was to earn $6 million in base salary with a $7.9 million cap hit in the final year of the contract in 2014.

It was believed the restructured contract includes adds another year to the deal although Harper’s future with the team became more cloudy when the Saints selected Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro with the 15th pick of the draft in April.

A former Alabama standout, Harper has started all 99 games he’s played in and has been selected to two Pro Bowls since being chosen in the second round of the 2006 draft.

He has been a liability at times in pass coverage, but could be better suited for the scheme that new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is installing.

Saints waive DE Greg Romeus

METAIRIE – The Saints waived defensive end Greg Romeus following their third organized team activity of the offseason Thursday morning.

Romeus, a 6-foot-5, 267-pounder, was a seventh-round draft pick in 2011. He was projected to be a high draft pick before he tore his right ACL late in his senior season at the University of Pittsburgh in 2010 and fell in the draft the following spring.

Romeus missed the entire 2011 season while rehabbing his knee injury and then tore his left ACL and MCL during an OTA in June and was had to sit out a second straight season.

The Saints roster now stands at 89 players, one under the offseason limit.

Saints prepare for start of OTAs; release Broughton

The Saints, who begin their organized team activities (OTAs) on Tuesday, announced Monday that the club waived defensive end Braylon Broughton.

The 6-foot-6, 272-pound Broughton was an undrafted free agent in 2012 who spent the entire season on the practice squad after being cut near the end of training camp.

Broughton, who played his college ball at TCU, was signed to a reserve-futures contract just after the 2012 season.

The Saints will have three OTAs this week. They will have a total of 10 over the next four weeks in addition to a fullsquad minicamp, which is scheduled for June 4-6.

Saints sign former Scotlandville High standout Lindsey

Baton Rouge native Korey Lindsey, a former Scotlandville High School standout, was among six players signed by the Saints on Monday following the team’s three-day minicamp over the weekend.

Lindsey, a 5-foot-10, 194-pound cornerback, participated in the Saints’ rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. He was signed along with wide receiver Brent Leonard, kicker Jose Maltos, defensive end Baraka Atkins, running back Khiry Robinson and guard Jeremiah Warren.

A seventh-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011, Lindsey, 24, has been on the active roster of the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals for parts of the past two seasons. He’s also spent time on the practice squad of three teams, including the Cardinals.

A two-time all-district pick at Scotlandville High, Lindsey played in 50 games at Southern Illinois with 36 starts and finished with 14 interceptions, which ranks third in school history. He was a first-team FCS All-American selection in both his junior and senior years.

Leonard, 6-2 and 186 pounds, also has Louisiana ties as he played his college ball at UL-Monroe. The former walk-on was the Warhawks’ leading receiver last season with 104 catches for 1,118 yards and 10 TDs and is the school’s all-time leader with 209 receptions.

A native of Keller, Texas, Leonard cancelled a scheduled workout with the Dallas Cowboys to accept a tryout invite from the Saints.

The Saints also announced that they waived running back Shawne Alston, cornerback Ryan Lacy and center Ryan Lee. Alston and Lacy were rookie free agents who signed with the Saints after the draft last month.

Saints have all draft picks signed after Jenkins joins fold

After getting four of their five draft picks under contract Thursday, one day before the start of a three-day rookie minicamp, the Saints completed the task on Friday when defensive tackle John Jenkins signed his deal.

Jenkins, the team’s second third-round pick in the NFL draft last month, signed a four-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Jenkins joins safety Kenny Vaccaro, the Saints’ first-round selection, as well as tackle Terron Armstead (third round), wide receiver Kenny Stills Jr. (fifth round) and outside linebacker Rufus Johnson (sixth round) in signing their rookie deals.

All five draft picks received four-year contracts.

Jenkins, a 6-foot-4, 359-pounder, was chosen by the Saints with a second third-round draft pick (82nd overall) they acquired from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for two fourth-round selections.

Jenkins, 23, played nose tackle for the past two years at Georgia and started 20 of 27 games he played in after transferring from Gulf Coast (Miss.) Community College. He recorded 78 tackles and four sacks.

As a senior, Jenkins started all 13 games and was the team’s co-defensive MVP after collecting 50 tackles and one sack.

All five draft picks were on the field for the Saints’ two rookie minicamp practices on Friday at the team’s Metairie training facility. They will work again twice on Saturday before wrapping up the minicamp with a single practice on Sunday.

All minicamp sessions are closed to the public.

Saints sign four of their five draft picks to four-year deals

With preparations continuing for a three-day rookie minicamp that begins Friday morning, the Saints on Thursday signed four of the five players they chose in the NFL draft last month.

Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis announced in a news release that the team signed safety Kenny Vaccaro, who was taken in the first round with the 15th overall pick, along with one of their two third-round choices and their fifth- and sixth-round selections.

The others signed were tackle Terron Armstead, who was the first of their two selections in the third round, wide receiver Kenny Stills (fifth round) and linebacker Rufus Johnson (sixth round).

Terms were not disclosed, but all four players signed four-year contracts.

That leaves the Saints with only one unsigned draft pick going into their rookie minicamp — defensive tackle John Jenkins, their second third-round pick in the third round.

Ten players with Louisiana ties set for Saints’ rookie camp

Ten players with Louisiana ties — including two each from LSU and Southern — are among the 70 players who will participate in the Saints’ three-day rookie minicamp that begins Friday.

The former LSU players are kicker Josh Jasper and defensive tackle Josh Downs, while former Southern wide receiver Charles Hawkins and defensive back Chantz Stevenson will also be on hand for five practice sessions at the Saints training facility in Metairie.

The other six others are quarterback Ryan Griffin and long snapper Billy Johnson (Tulane), safety Malcolm Bronson (McNeese State), wide receiver Brent Leonard and tight end Keavon Milton (UL-Monroe), and former Scotlandville High cornerback Korey Lindsey (Southern Illinois).

Johnson is the son of Saints defensive line coach Bill Johnson.

Saints rookie minicamp roster

The 70 players slated for the Saints’ rookie minicamp, which runs through Sunday:

No. Name Pos. School

1 Dalton Botts^ P Miami (Fla.)

2 Jose Maltos^ K n/a

2 Jon Richt^ QB Mars Hill

3 Josh Jasper^ K LSU

3 John Beck^ QB BYU

4 Ryan Griffin# QB Tulane

11 Kyle Fisher^ WR Bloomsburg

14 Andy Tanner$ WR Midwestern St.

17 Brent Leonard^ WR UL-Monroe

18 Saalim Hakim$ WR Tarleton State

19 La’Rod King^ WR Kentucky

19 Chantz Stevenson^ DB Southern

20 A.J. Davis$ CB Jacksonville St.

20 Khiry Robinson^ WR W. Texas A&M

22 Jermaine Robinson^ DB Toledo

24 Nathan Hoyte^ RB Albany State

26 Wayne Warren^ S Rutgers

29 Ryan Lacy# CB Utah

29 Eric Stephens^ RB Texas Tech

30 Duron Carter^ WR Floida Atlantic

31 Dion Turner$ CB Southern Utah

31 Charles Hawkins^ WR Southern

32 Kenny Vaccaro* S Texas

34 Shawne Alston# RB West Virginia

No. Name Pos. School

34 Korey Lindsey^ CB S. Illinois

35 Austin Johnson$ FB Tennessee

35 Damein Anderson^ CB Mississippi St.

38 Rod Sweeting# CB Georgia Tech

39 Vaughn Carraway^ S Temple

40 Brandyn Thompson^ CB Boise State

44 Taimi Tutogi^ FB Arizona

44 Nate Ness^ CB Arizona

45 Luke Anderson^ S Wyoming

46 Ray Shipman# LB UCF

47 Baraka Atkins^ LB Miami (Fla.)

48 Malcolm Bronson^ S McNeese St.

49 Billy Johnson^ LS Tulane

49 Brandon Robinson^ DB Liberty

52 Kevin Reddick# LB North Carolina

55 Eric Martin# LB Nebraska

55 Jeremiah Warren^ G South Florida

58 Chase Thomas# LB Stanford

59 Rufus Johnson* LB Tarleton State

61 Elliot Mealer# C Michigan

61 Brian Schaefering^ DL Lindenwood

62 Braylon Broughton$ DE TCU

62 Cory Procter^ C Montana

63 Ryan Lee$ G Furman

No. Name Pos. School

63 Semisi Tokolahi^ DL Washington

65 Quinn Ojinnaka^ G Syracuse

65 Josh Downs^ DT LSU

67 Bill McHale^ LB Yale

68 Tim Lelito# G Grand Valley St.

68 Bill Ross^ LB Ark.-Pine Bluff

69 Shaq Wilson^ LB South Carolina

70 Robert Maci^ LB Purdue

72 Terron Armstead* T Ark.-Pine Bluff

72 Joshua Lynn^ LB Furman

74 Glenn Foster# DE Illinois

74 Patrick Brown^ T UCF

75 Lou Alexander^ OL Syracuse

76 Blaize Foltz^ OL TCU

79 Tyler Deacon^ G Arkansas

79 Eric Norwood^ DE South Carolina

83 Keavon Milton# TE UL-Monroe

84 Kenny Stills* WR Oklahoma

85 Andrei Lintz^ TE Washington St.

86 Ryan Deehan^ TE Colorado

89 Josh Hill# TE Idaho State

92 John Jenkins* DT Georgia

* — rookie draft pick; # — rookie free agent;
$ — Saints veteran; ^ — on tryout

Saints open three-day rookie minicamp Friday

With four weeks of their offseason program for veterans already in the books, Saints’ coaches will get their first look at the 18 players they drafted or signed after the draft in a three-day minicamp that begins Friday.

The Saints will have a total of 70 players at their Metairie practice facility as they’re allowed to bring in members of their practice squad last season as well as veterans and rookies who will participate on a tryout basis.

In addition to orientation and classroom work with their position coaches, the players will be on the field twice Friday and Saturday and wrap up the weekend with a single practice Sunday.

The Saints will have the five players they selected in the draft last month on hand along with the 13 college players who agreed to contracts with the team shortly after the three-day draft concluded.

The list includes safety Kenny Vaccaro, the 15th overall pick of the draft, and their two third-round selections — tackle Terron Armstead and defensive tackle John Jenkins.

Wide receiver Kenny Stills Jr. and outside linebacker Rufus Johnson, who were chosen in the fifth and sixth rounds, respectively, round out the list of draftees who will be in attendance.

Two of the top undrafted free agents are quarterback Ryan Griffin, who played last season for former Saints wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson at Tulane, and Stanford linebacker Chase Thomas, who was not taken in the draft after being projected as a third-round pick.

Saints’ Payton receives honorary doctorate from EIU

Saints coach Sean Payton, a graduate of Eastern Illinois University, received an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree on Saturday from his alma mater.

According to a news release from the university, which is located in Charleston, Ill., the degree was bestowed upon Payton in “recognition of his generosity and service to society.”

Payton received his bachelor’s degree from the school in 1987 after a record-setting career as a quarterback from 1983-86.

He was inducted into the EIU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000 and his No. 18 jersey was retired in 2010. That year, he also was named a Distinguished Alumnus by the EIU Alumni Association.

Payton was recognized Saturday for his Play It Forward Foundation, which was created with the goal of raising funds and awareness for organizations fighting at the forefront for children and families in need.