Saints defensive end wins player of the week award

Updated: November 4, 2003, 7:10 PM ET
ESPN

NEW ORLEANS -- It's been quiet a week for Willie Whitehead, despite news from the team that he will be named NFC Defensive Player of the Week on Wednesday.

Whitehead earned the award with a big game in the Saints' 17-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Whitehead had a career-high three sacks (for 17 yards in losses), a forced fumble, a pass defensed and five tackles.

He couldn't celebrate Sunday's victory with teammates, however, because he remained in a Tampa hospital Sunday night suffering with dehydration.

Saints owner Tom Benson sent his private plane to get Whitehead on Monday.

"We didn't want any episodes to happen on the plane where he started going into convulsions or started cramping again," Haslett said. "Even with the short flight our trainer felt it was better to leave him behind."

Whitehead was given at least four liters of fluid after the Saints 17-14 victory over the Buccaneers, Haslett said.

"He only took about three plays off out of the 72 plays," Haslett said. "You really had to be there to really understand the heat." ^------<

JUST BUSINESS: Defensive tackle Grady Jackson was not bitter about the Saints' abrupt decision to cut him.

Jackson was cut Monday, the day he was due to return from a one-week suspension for violating team rules. Coach Jim Haslett said Jackson no longer "was a good fit" on a defensive line loaded with young players, including Johnathan Sullivan, the team's first-round draft pick from Georgia, second-year end Charles Grant and rookies Kenderick Allen and Melvin Williams.

"It shocks me, and I'm surprised the way they did it," Jackson said. "I'm not angry or nothing. It's a business decision, and I appreciate everything the Saints did for me. I've faced adversity before. This isn't anything new to me." ^------<

CRAVER'S STATUS: Cornerback Keyou Craver, who was suspended for four games without pay for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, was eligible to return to the Saints on Tuesday.

Craver's status was unclear. A Saints spokesman said late Tuesday that he did not believe Craver had been activated yet.

The NFL policy calls for a four-week suspension only after a player has entered stage two of the program, indicating that there were multiple violations of the policy. Violations include repeated substance abuse or refusal to comply with treatment terms.

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