Super Bowl: Today's New Orleans Saints pool report
By Ashley Fox
Under a sunny sky and with the wind whipping across the field, the New Orleans Saints held their final walk-through of the season at 12:30 p.m. today at Sun Life Stadium in preparation for Super Bowl XLIV. All 53 players on the active roster were present.
Wearing shells and shorts, the players opened the 45-minute walk-through by running and stretching. The first-team offense ran through a handful of plays, followed by the first-team defense and special teams. Drew Brees wore a red No. 9 jersey, and he laughed with Reggie Bush after one particular play.
"I'm excited, just excited," coach Sean Payton said afterward. "You get to this point and your concerns are always the scheduling and the logistics and the travel, and all of that was pretty smooth. So it's good. At this point, everyone's ready. It's been two weeks already, so we're ready to go."
Reserve cornerback Randall Gay, who was absent from Friday's practice with an illness, was on the sideline during the walk-through. Payton said that Gay had had a cold, with congestion, but said he would be ready to go tomorrow night. Reserve running back Lionel Hamilton, who missed practice the entire week, also watched from the sideline. When asked Hamilton's status for tomorrow, Payton said "we'll see how he does on Sunday."
Payton said it will be business as usual leading up to the game, with meetings scheduled for tonight and tomorrow morning. Payton set curfew at 11 p.m. Although he has had guest speakers address the team at times during the season, Payton was noncommittal about whether he would do so again tomorrow, when the team has its final formal team meeting leading up to the game.
As is customary on Saturdays during the season, Payton invited all sons of players to attend the walk-through. About two dozen did - more than usual - and while the players practiced, the boys posed for a group photo and played touch football on the sideline. After almost everyone had left the field, Payton's 9-year-old son Connor attempted five field goals with a black-and-gold football and with his father acting as his holder. Connor hit the cross bar once and the upright another time before making his last attempt from the nine-yard line.
"There's a lot of challenges with coaching, in regards to family time," Payton said. "Every once in a while, you get one of these opportunities, and it helps make up for it."