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Superdome Should Be Ready for 2006 Season

October 21, 2005|From Associated Press

Superdome officials say the stadium should be largely cleaned up from Hurricane Katrina and ready for the New Orleans Saints to play at least some of their games there in 2006.

The announcement Thursday came as San Antonio officials said they were working with team owner Tom Benson to keep the team in Texas.

The Superdome, severely damaged by high winds, should have a temporary roof in place within 10 days, said Doug Thornton, regional vice president for SMG, which manages the stadium. An environmental assessment of its interior -- damaged by rainfall through holes in the roof and its use as a shelter for evacuees -- should be finished by Dec. 1, he said.

"We're working to make the Dome ready for the next season," Thornton said at a meeting of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District Commission, which oversees the Superdome.

Under the terms of the state's contract with the team, the Saints could argue that the storm has made the stadium unusable, move to another state and avoid paying an $81 million penalty.

Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said she talked for some time with NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue on Wednesday.

She said he is committed to working with Louisiana but also suggested that the game at LSU's Tiger Stadium on Oct. 30 "is not just a game but a very symbolic event and we should encourage as many people as possible to go."

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Oakland receiver Randy Moss returned to practice in a limited fashion but is still listed as doubtful to play this week against Buffalo.

Moss is nursing bruised ribs, a strained groin and a bruised pelvic area after getting hurt in a hard fall while trying to make a leaping catch late in the first quarter of Sunday's 27-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers.

"He ran a little bit today," Coach Norv Turner said. "He feels a little bit better."

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Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair sat out a second straight practice, this one for personal reasons.

McNair watched practice Wednesday and has been listed as questionable for Sunday's game with Arizona because of a sore back and ankle. Coach Jeff Fisher said McNair's back was better Thursday, but he was excused from practice for personal reasons.

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Minnesota wide receiver Nate Burleson, who has been out of the lineup since spraining a ligament in his left knee against Cincinnati on Sept. 18, returned to full practice and said afterward his knee was feeling fine.

Barring any setback, Burleson will be in uniform Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.

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Wide receiver Hines Ward took part in some of the Pittsburgh Steelers' drills but remains questionable for Sunday's game at Cincinnati.

Cornerback Deshea Townsend, previously listed as doubtful with a sore hamstring, was upgraded to questionable, but it is unlikely he will start against the Bengals.

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