METAIRIE, La. -- With Tropical Storm Isaac forecast to hit the Gulf Coast as a hurricane this week, New Orleans interim coach Joe Vitt said Sunday the Saints had canceled practice and meetings Monday to allow players to evacuate their families.
Vitt added the Saints still planned to practice at their facility on Tuesday morning before flying early to Tennessee to prepare for their final preseason game on Thursday against the Titans.
Their contingency plan is to fly to Cincinnati on Monday if needed and practice in Nashville on Tuesday.
"We called our squad in here at 3:00 on their day off and informed them that it was our recommendation that they evacuate their families today, " Vitt said. "We will give the team off tomorrow so they can further seek shelter for their families."
The latest National Weather Service forecast has Isaac coming ashore on the Mississippi Gulf Coast just east of Louisiana on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning with maximum sustained winds of about 100 mph.
Though each updated forecast has had the storm landing farther west than the previous one, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers also have canceled practice Monday. Although forecasters say Tampa is not in danger of a direct hit by the storm, the region is expected to have heavy wind and rain Monday.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency on Sunday afternoon.
This is not the first time a storm has forced the Saints to alter practice plans since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, forcing them to play the entire season away from New Orleans.
In 2008, they practiced at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis the week before their regular-season opener at home against Tampa Bay due to a mandatory city-wide evacuation for Hurricane Gustav.
"That's the way this team is built," Vitt said. "That's the way this organization's built. I think that it really just shadows the resiliency of our community. This community faces these types of things it seems every year. We stand beside our community, encourage them to take shelter and everybody can be safe in this thing."
Vitt said they would release the names Monday of 15 players waived to meet the NFL's mandatory roster limit of 75. ... Vitt said rookie wide receiver Nick Toon would play Thursday against Tennessee after missing the first four preseason games with a foot injury. Running back Darren Sproles will be held out of his third consecutive game with a sore knee.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.