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This Week in Saints History: April 10-16

April 10th

1971—Tulane University formally begins a campaign to raise $300,000 to buy artificial field surface nicknamed "Super Turf" in the hopes this will secure Super Bowl VI at the venue. Besides financial support from Tulane, the Mid-Winter Sports Association (that ran the Sugar Bowl game at the time), the Saints and citizens are asked to donate $4 per square foot and receive a special certificate in honor of their donation.

1995—Long-time Saints defensive end Frank Warren (1981-89, 91-94) is hired as a trainee in football operations, working within many aspects of the organization including coaching.

2012—Long-time NFL head coach Bill Parcells announces (per rumors that had been circulating since March 27th) that he will not pursue the Saints interim head coaching job while Sean Payton is suspended. Also, writer Alan Donnes (who had close ties to the Saints via various writing projects) states on a national radio show that former Saints assistant coach Mike Cerullo (released from team after 2009 season) is the NFL's main source for information pertaining to BountyGate.

Today's birthdays:

Charles Brown—Born in 1987 (Tackle 2010-present)

J.J. McCleskey—Born in 1970 (Cornerback/Special Teams coverage 1993-96)

April 11th

Today's birthdays:

Rock Gullickson—Born in 1955 (Strength & conditioning coach 2000-03)

Terry Hoage—Born in 1962 (Safety 1984-85)

Ernie Jackson—Born in 1950 (Cornerback 1972-77)

Brad Muster—Born in 1965 (Fullback 1993-94)

April 12th

1993—Saints sign their first-ever veteran free agent in the "modern" free agency era in QB Wade Wilson from Atlanta who gets $2 million a year for three years. It's also announced that Bobby Hebert would not be offered a contract. General manager Jim Finks states, "The longer it dragged out and the more we thought about it and the consequences of having Bobby back or not having him back, it began to take shape where we think it's in our best interests to go in another direction." Hebert's agent Greg Campbell states that the Friday before Finks had sent him a contract offer and Campbell approved it.

1993—FB Craig Heyward leaves the Saints in free agency to sign a three-year, $3 million contract with the Chicago Bears.

2012—Saints announce that assistant head coach Joe Vitt will be interim head coach for most of the 2012 season but the organization hasn't made a decision on who will take Vitt's place during the first six regular season games while he is on suspension.

Today's birthdays:

Todd Franz—Born in 1976 (Safety 2000)

Len Garrett—Born in 1948 (Tight end 1973-75)

Fred Weary—Born in 1974 (Cornerback 1998-2001)

April 13th

Today's birthdays:

Wayne Colman—Born in 1946 (Linebacker 1969-74, 1976)

Bryan Scott—Born in 1981 (Safety 2006)

Speedy Thomas—Born in 1947 (Wide receiver 1973)

April 14th

2003—Saints sign tight end Ernie Conwell in free agency.

Today's birthdays:

Colby Bockwoldt—Born in 1981 (Linebacker 2004-05)

Mike Jones—Born in 1960 (Wide receiver 1987, 1989)

April 15th

1976—WGSO-AM 1280 in N.O. becomes new flagship station of the Saints radio network. The station stays in this capacity thru the 1981 season.

1996—The entire Saints organization is housed under one roof for the first time ever with the completion of the new Airline Drive facilities. The property covers 65,000 square feet.

2000—Saints select defensive end Darren Howard from Kansas State in the second round of the college draft as their first overall pick; other players who made the regular season roster from the draft include Terrelle Smith (FB 4th rd.), Tutan Reyes (T 5th), Austin Wheatley (TE 5th), Chad Morton (RB 5th), Michael Hawthorne (CB 6th), and Kevin Houser (ST 7th).

2003—After enforcing a $50,000 buy-out clause in their contract with Nicholls State University, the Saints announce that training camp will be held at their Metairie practice facility. It took almost a year before the Saints paid NSU the owed money.

Today's birthdays:

Bobby April—Born in 1953 (Special teams coach 1996-99)

Derek Brown—Born in 1971 (Running back 1993-96, Assistant strength & conditioning coach 1999)

Cameron Cleeland—Born in 1975 (Tight end 1998-2001)

Herana Daze-Jones—Born in 1982 (Safety 2009)

Quinn Early—Born in 1965 (Wide receiver 1991-95) Free agent acquisition '91

Jim Flanagan—Born in 1945 (Linebacker 1971)

Darrin Smith—Born in 1970 (Linebacker 2000-05)

April 16th

1997—Mike Ditka makes a trade with the Redskins, giving them the Saints 5th round pick in '97 and 3rd round pick in '98 in return for QB Heath Shuler.

2012—Head Coach Sean Payton begins his one-year suspension handed down by the NFL for the "Bounty Gate" scandal where he is not allowed to be involved with any NFL or Saints-related business. The suspension was supposed to start April 1st but was delayed while he appealed it.

Today's birthdays:

Henry Childs—Born in 1951 (Tight end 1974-80) Saints Hall of Famer

John Hill—Born in 1950 (Center 1975-84) Saints Hall of Famer

Jonathan Vilma—Born in 1982 (Linebacker 2008-present) Part of Super Bowl XLIV team


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