Saints out in force for start of Senior Bowl activities

MOBILE, Ala. — A large Saints contingent, led by General Manager Mickey Loomis, was out in force Monday — as usual — for the start of the Reese’s Senior Bowl activities.

While coach Sean Payton wasn’t spotted at the official players’ weigh-in Monday morning or either the North or South practice sessions later in the day, the Saints were well-represented by Loomis, other front office officials, scouts and coaches.

Both Loomis and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan declined to speak with reporters. Loomis said he’ll address the media for the first time since the end of the season after the North’s practice on Tuesday morning at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Ryan said: “Mum’s the word until training camp, guys. … Sorry.”

Other high-ranking staffers seen Monday were director of player personnel Ryan Pace, director of college scouting Rick Reiprish, offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr., and assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt.

TALE OF THE TAPE: Meanwhile, two draft prospects from LSU and one from Tulane — both on the South team — were weighed and measured on a stage in front of hundreds of front-office executives, coaches and scouts from all 32 NFL clubs.

LSU inside linebacker Lamin Barrow came in at 6 feet, 1 inch and 229 pounds, and teammate Craig Loston, a safety, was 6-0 and 214 pounds.

Tulane wide receiver Ryan Grant was measured at 6-0 and weighed 197 pounds.

Louisiana Tech defensive tackle Justin Ellis, who oddly enough will suit up for the North, was a shade under 6-2 and tipped the scales at 342 pounds.

BACK IN THE SWING: After Monday’s practice at FairhopeHigh School, Loston talked about putting the shoulder pads on for the first time since LSU’s win against Iowa in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1.

“It wasn’t bad, the main thing was getting your legs back under you,” he said. “The first day is kind of like a polish-up day, you want to get your legs back up under you.”

But it was important because it was his first day being tutored by an NFL coaching staff. The South team is being coached by the Jacksonville Jaguars staff, while Atlanta Falcons coaches are working with the North squad.

“You want to get used to what we were just taught in the classroom, and come out here and show them you can take it from the classroom to the field,” Loston said.

GETTING CLOSER?: While the players on the North and South squads participating in Saturday’s all-star game are auditioning this week for NFL jobs, so are a lot of unemployed coaches.

Former Grambling and NFL quarterback Doug Williams, who was abruptly fired by his alma mater on Sept. 11 after two-plus seasons, is among those looking to get back in the NFL.

Williams, who worked in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers personnel department from 2004 to 2010, said he’s close to landing another NFL job in an undisclosed capacity.

“What happened was tragic … I hated it,” he said Monday. “But at the end of the day, I was let go for no cause.

“Everyone I talk to, the first thing they say is, ‘We hate it happened to you, but you need to be here (in the league) with us.’ That comes from general managers, head coaches and scouts. So that’s kind of overwhelming.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I felt like a boxer, like a heavyweight fighter. … When I first got on stage and saw how many people (coaches and scouts) were out there, I kind of got nervous myself. But obviously, it’s part of the job.” — Barrow, on shedding most of his clothes Monday to be weighed and measured.

Advocate sportswriter Ramon Antonio Vargas contributed to this report.