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Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Saints will open at home


Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Good news from the Saints. The team just sent out a press release announcing Sunday's game will be played at the Superdome. Here's the copy of the full announcement:

The New Orleans Saints, in conjunction with the Louisiana Superdome, have announced today that the regular season opener between the Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be played as scheduled at Noon (CT ) on Sunday, September 7 at the Louisiana Superdome.

"There were a number of critical issues that needed to be addressed before we could make this announcement," said Saints Owner Tom Benson, who directed the process of making this game happen for Saints fans from the team's temporary location in Indianapolis. "We have been assured by Superdome officials that the stadium is ready to host our fans and our team for a sold out game this Sunday and we have been assured by our political leaders that we have their support in making this happen."

The team will return to New Orleans on Friday afternoon and will practice the remainder of the week at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

"As we stated yesterday, we want to thank Jim Irsay, Bill Polian and the Indianapolis Colts in making the transition to Indianapolis seamless," said Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis. "We are pleased that we will be back in New Orleans to play our game in our hometown in front of our fans on Sunday."

The team has worked in a collaborative effort with state and local officials as well as with Superdome officials making sure that the Superdome was available, safe and ready to host and staff the game. In addition, the team is working within the guidelines set out by state and local officials on when residents can return to their homes.

"Our number one priority was making sure that the people of our community were safe during the storm and are now able to return safely. There is a critical re-entry process that we all must follow and we must do that as efficiently as possible," said Benson. "We will once again showcase to a national audience that the city of New Orleans is made up of resilient people and that we are ready to stand our city back up as quickly as possible, put this storm behind us and move on with our lives."

The Superdome had no major damage when Hurricane Gustav struck near New Orleans Monday.

"We are happy to report the Superdome sustained only minimal damage from Hurricane Gustav; primarily to exterior marquees," said SMG Regional Vice President/General Manager Doug Thornton. "It takes significant resources to run the Dome for a Saints game and we are very pleased that our employees, subcontractors and suppliers will all be available when the doors open on Sunday."