Loomis addresses uncertainty facing Saints amid pandemic as training camp opens

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It was a reminder that 2020 is a whole new world for all, including the National Football League.

Saints general manager Mickey Loomis spoke with media Tuesday via Zoom as the team kicked off training camp at the club’s facility.

However, on-field workouts, according to Loomis, are still several days away.

“We are a long ways from the practice field yet,” said Loomis.

The club is currently engaged in testing only. Loomis said that everyone who tested Monday came up negative for COVID-19. He said he did not have results for Tuesday testing.

Loomis was asked about the current outbreak of virus on Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins after their next six games were postponed.

“We always knew there would be positive tests,” said Loomis. “You have to be in a hole not to understand how serious Coronavirus is,” said Loomis.

Loomis said he was surprised how many players have opted out of the 2020 season because of the virus. Two Saints tight ends, Jason Vander Laan and Joe Wick, are among those decided to skip the season.

At least a half-dozen New England Patriots, including cornerback Patrick Chung and linebacker Dont’a Hightower, have decided not to play.

“I am surprised there have been that many around the league,” said Loomis.

Loomis noted the Saints have not torn down walls but have modified their locker room. That includes putting “barriers” between each player’s dressing area.

As for the lingering question on how many fans, if any, might attend the season opener in September at the Superdome against the Tampa Bay Bucs, it still lingers.

“I just don’t know,” said Loomis.

Loomis was asked if there have been negotiations with running back Alvin Kamara on a contract extension. Kamara is due to be a free agent after the 2021 season. As usual, Loomis said he doesn’t care to speculate or make any comment until “things like that actually get done.”

The Saints general manager discussed that he has discussed with other clubs how they will handle effect of the pandemic inside their building. He would not offer specifics, but he did say the Saints would do “some things different than other teams.”

It was confirmed that the Saints currently plan to use their indoor facility to practice during training camp.

The 2020 campaign could be a big one for the Saints despite the lingering cloud of COVID-19. Loomis was reminded that the Saints have won the most regular season games of any team in the NFL the past three seasons.

“Everyone feels good about our team,” said Loomis. “But just because we won games last year, doesn’t entitle us this year.”

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Ed Daniels

Ed Daniels

WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM

Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…

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