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Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Sean Payton defends photo session

By Pat Yasinskas

When he met with the New Orleans media Tuesday, Saints coach Sean Payton defended the actions of some of his players immediately after Monday night’s win in the Georgia Dome.

Several members of the New Orleans Saints defense were seen coming out of the locker room and back on the field, where they were seen, at very least, posing for pictures near an Atlanta Falcons logo. That set off fireworks among fans and in the media. The Saints have been accused by some of rubbing it in to the Falcons and others have accused the Saints of being arrogant, which isn't the first time that claim has been made.

But Payton said he believes too much has been made of the incident and added that he understands the attention it has brought.

“It’s something the linebackers have done for a while here,’’ Payton said. “It’s always done with respect and after the game. If you go into our linebacker meeting room there’s pictures there with their families. There are pictures of the Super Bowl. There are pictures after a big win at Dallas, but it’s always after the teams leave the field and it’s never in any way, shape or form meant at all to be disrespectful. I think in light of last night, a lot’s been made that it was in more of an arrogant manner. I would disagree with that. It’s something that’s done after the fact, after the teams have left the field.”

I did not witness the incident because I was in Atlanta’s locker room after the game. But television colleague Ed Werder described what he saw and said it wasn’t anywhere near the level of Terrell Owens dancing on the Dallas Cowboys logo years ago.

I’ll just say it probably wasn’t a good idea for the Saints to do anything that even gave the appearance of showing disrespect for the Falcons. But I know Atlanta and New Orleans fans have much stronger opinions.