Sean Payton, Drew Brees Characterize Mike Ornstein's Legal Woe Differently
Ornstein is a regular around the Saints, according to local media, and a presumed pal of coach Sean Payton. What was interesting in media briefings Wednesday was the totally different responses from quarterback Drew Brees and Payton about "who-knew-what-when" with Ornstein.
When asked about Ornstein's conviction, Payton said, "Just like anyone else, this was the first that we all heard of it. It's something that dates back to something further than 10 years ago so it's really just that. Not knowing any of the details and as far back as it went, that's really about it."
When Brees was asked about Ornstein's legal trouble, he said, "I think what came out is something that I think has been going on for a while. It's not like it caught any of us by surprise in regards to it was out there, but just maybe the fact that it came out of nowhere yesterday.
"I don't think anybody knows all the details of what he's going through, or the charges, whatever. I think guys see Mike and he's a friend to a lot of guys and so it's not a distraction by any means, no."
Payton added, "It was news to us."
Tom Benson's Saints have been in enough hot water. There was the case of of the theft of prescription painkillers from the team drug locker, then an assistant coach's role in a real estate caper. Reggie Bush, the running back, gave back his Heisman Trophy and wouldn't apologize to the Southern Cal players who are bearing the brunt of his accepting illegal benefits.
Payton was asked if Ornstein is still around the team. He also remarked on some glowing things said about Ornstein in Payton's post-Super Bowl book.
"He's not here. He has a job in L.A. You guys have read the book and heard what we said about him and what I said about him in the book. There's no capacity that he's in; he's just as staunch a supporter of us as anyone and that's really his capacity," Payton said. "Certainly the relationships that he has with a number of players and people here, stemming back from Reggie Bush really."
The guess is the NFL is going to talk to the Saints. If Ornstein's affiliation with the team -- at least in New Orleans -- continues it will be a surprise now that the news is out.